Avro Anson LT741, air crash site on Black Combe, Cumbria

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Avro Anson LT741, air crash site on Black Combe

Me sitting on a ledge just above the impact point

January 2nd 1945. Avro Anson LT741 was on gunnery training practice when it failed to locate the target tug, a Miles Martinet which was some distance to the north, and crashed into the crags of Black Combe on the Cumbrian coastline in low cloud.

Three of the four men on board died instantly. Wireless Operator Sgt Jenkins, 19 years old and from Cardiff, survived the crash but died of exposure; it was 8 days before the wreck was discovered. It is possible Sgt Jenkins had managed to jump from the aircraft before impact, but was too low for his parachute to open and was injured when he hit the ground. The crew all served with the RAFVR.

Flight Sergeant Arthur J Wood, pilot
Warrant Officer Thomas W Johnson, air gunner
Sergeant James L Turner, wireless op/air gunner
Sergeant Kenneth D Jenkins, wireless op

Struggled to find this wreck site, the co-ordinates we had were out, and we scoured every gully and crag on the eastern side of Black Combe looking for it. We had just about given up when I spotted a fragment of aluminium panel on some rocks lower down. I retrieved that, then climbed back up the crag to locate the impact point. There we found some electrical connectors, a fuse and some cartridge shells, one of which had exploded in the fire, and another which was stamped with the date 1943. We buried these items near the impact site.

Close up of the remains

These two photos courtesy of Mark Haywood who recently visited the crash site and found more debris scattered down the slope. Mark also placed the metal remembrance cross at the site.

LT741 crashed the same day as this American bomber

34 comments on “Avro Anson LT741, air crash site on Black Combe, Cumbria
  1. SolarScot. says:

    how much are the wanting for it Ian? greedy buggers lets have a whip round,think themselves lucky they are here thanks to brave guys like these

  2. Lo Scorpione says:

    Great pensieve shot, Ian! Love the close-up in the comments as well, really nice.
    I agree with your thoughts on the destination of wreckage. While some might prefer it not to be lingering around in nature, if no official action is foreseen, this should still be chosen over taking it home and burying it in one’s collection. Then at least donate it to some public collection if you want to get it out.

  3. Tech Owl says:

    Good series of images Ian – sounds like you have the start of a crusade there

  4. andyholmfirth says:

    It’s that little poppy cross again amongst all the hillside browns – lovely.And you look like you’re enjoying the view.Strange what people will buy.The price of everything,value of nothing springs to mind.

  5. Ian D B says:

    Thanks chaps.

    I have no idea what it would cost. To get it back up there would be hard work too, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  6. Gary Shield says:

    Fantastic shots as ever Ian. I have driven passed Black Combe hundreds of times, never knew of this. Great stuff

  7. Mark McKie says:

    Nice series of shots Ian.

  8. C J Paul (chris) says:

    great work ian love all the pictures and thank for the info…..

  9. pasujoba says:

    Terrific research Ian , quite a lot that I failed to find , and a big thanks for doing the goat work whilst i messed around with my camera at the top 🙂 Excellent !
    Only thing is with returning it , is that if we could take it back someone would only come along and take the engine again.
    I particuarily like the skyline with the lakedistrict fells on the shot with me walking along the edge of the cliffs

  10. Richard Tierney says:

    Another super project/write up Ian. Looks like you had some kind weather yesterday… I looked at Black Coombe the other week whilts in Barrow and did not know of this incident… Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    [ via Richard Tierney’s contacts on flickriver  —Richard Tierney ]

  11. mick cooke says:

    great story again ian and some great photos

  12. Keartona says:

    You look in a reflective mood gazing out across the land.

  13. **Hazel** says:

    I have so much admiration for what you are doing Ian and thank you for giving us the background information on the crashes and your feelings about the wreckage!! The photos are stunning!!!:)

  14. gastephen says:

    Nice shot and interesting research.

  15. P_H_I_L_L says:

    Superb Ian. For me it’s the best one yet. Great picture that really gets across the scale of the crash site, indepth story on the tragedy and your thoughts on the wreckage. I’ve metioned before that these sites should be considered ‘war graves’ and should be left untouched (aside from your very responsible practise of burying old ammo). At the very least if they are removed they should be placed in a museum along with similar information that you provide. Putting them up for sale is a disgrace.

  16. Ian D B says:

    Thanks again all.


    Yes, there’s always the hope it might find a place in a musuem and if presented along with a history of what happened, that’s the main thing. But even then, removed from the site it just becomes an old engine; out of context it seems pointless really. I’ve looked at lots of wreck displays in museums, and I nearly always think it would have been better left where it was. But that’s just me.

    As for individual magpies, I’ve had people contact me, boasting about bits of wreckage they have taken home with them and I just think, why for God’s sake? Who gets to see it? Your mates from the pub? Your wife, complaining that she can’t get the Punto in the garage without hitting bits of old metal? I don’t get that at all.

  17. het broertje van.. says:

    Wow Ian………………spectacular pictures here man…………what a view!!!


  18. Kingsdude/Dave says:

    Really great stuff Ian – I was at the museum site very recently and was sorry to see it had closed – although having spoken to some locals they were less disappointed given the site of the museum in the middle of a housing estate ? I admire the effort you put in tracking down these crash sites and the comprehensive background stories. Keep up the good work, its a great tribute to all those who gave their lives serving their country.

  19. Kingsdude/Dave says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/maycontaintracesofnuts] PS: Just seen on the BBC news that the Museum is selling off everything today to raise cash to pay off £ 250,000 of debts 🙁

  20. mojo_black says:

    Interesting story, I think unless it poses a threat to wildlife or is polluting somehow wreckage should be left where it is. As has been portrayed by the difficulty you had in finding the site nature soon reclaims the land.

  21. Mustang Koji says:

    You are commended on your noble efforts and for your character. Bravo.

  22. IANLAYZELLUK says:

    Something about this which I really like. Very Peaceful Shot. Colours are warm and love the composition.

  23. cgullz says:

    great cover shot to the set: i clicked the set to link it across to this image on my stream:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/angwickham/6660779977/ … was gonna ask but didn’t think you’d mind?

    very poignant shot, and details to the crash. tragic to survive such a crash only to be taken by the elements. looks a very tricky place to navigate on foot, you guys did so well to find anything of the remains.
    regarding your comments on souveneir hunters – a disheartening and disrespectful business. great what you guys do to keep memories of these events and these lost airmen alive.
    cheers Ian.

  24. Ian D B says:


    Thanks Ang! The main focus is on preserving the memory of what happened at these places with as good a photo as we can take. It is good to remember those who died of bad luck, their stories aren’t much heard.

  25. Ray Osisiogu says:

    Warrant Officer Thomas W. Johnson was my uncle, although I never met him and until now I never knew the exact details of his death. It brings me great comfort to know that the place where he and his compatriots die has been found and preserved and I know that if my mother (his eldest sister) and my grandmother were still alive they would feel the same way too. Thank you for your effort and respect in your sensitive handling of this matter.

  26. Jacqueline Turner says:

    James Leonard Turner was my grandfathers cousin, he is buried in a cemetery in Ormiston east Lothian, Scotland, my grandfather is buried 50ms away.

    Thank you for posting this and I have forwarded all on to my dad,if you have any other information, would be lovely to hear of it

  27. Mark Haywood says:

    Hi Jacqueline.
    I have visited this crash site a few times and have a few photos u might like..also i have some course photos of the lads on Raf Walney..
    Ive found 2 Turners both on the same course 71..
    My grandad was on raf Walney in 1943 and was on course 61..they are not the clearest photos but if u have one to compare to u might be able to pick James out..
    I will email photos to Ian who runs this site..
    Thanks Mark

    • Tracy Jayne Gillard says:

      Hi mark,i live at the base of black combe next to Beckside Farm,my 10 yr old grandson is fascinated by this story,we walk up the combe alot and i was wondering if you tell me where abouts the wreck is
      Regards Tracy

  28. Celia Pearson says:

    My husband was Assistant Governor of Haverigg Prison, 1974-7 and we lived at 4, Combe View with an uninterrupted view of Black Combe, which we climbed several times, often taking visitors up there. I never had any idea of what had happened up there, but it is wonderful to know someone has investigated the site and treated the remains with the reverence they deserve. It would be nice to know if the local school in Haverigg told the children about it.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thank you Celia. Yes it would be good if children were taught local history? We never were, which was an opportunity lost, it would have had more meaning if able to connect with the places and people in the lessons.

      By the way, did you know there was another aircrash on Black Combe? In 1947, a USAF aircraft crashed on the hill, both crew surving. As did the schoolboys who had their own adventure and got stuck overnight in the wreckage!


  29. Brian Canfer says:

    There was an RAF Mountain Rescue Team at RAF Millom in early 1945, under the command of Flt Lt John Lloyd, as was the norm then he was also the SMO on the station. Sadly we have few written accounts of the team’s activities albeit we do know that they attended the crash of Anson EG693 on 6th December 1944 Map Ref Sheet 87 915015. NB Our website is currently closed to non-members but we’re working on going public. Happy to answer any queries.
    We have a modest collection of photos on Flickr, those few for Millom being at http://www.flickr.com/photos/82021226@N07/albums/72157631193238022/with/8234961991

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