Avro Anson NL185. Kinder Scout, UK.

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Avro Anson NL185

Flown by Wing Commander Richard Douglas Speare, DSO, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre with Palm.
Wing Commander Speare had 9 years flying experience when he was killed in a crash on 23rd November 1945, during what should have been a short routine flight; he was taking leave and flying from near High Wycombe to Norfolk, 70 miles to the North East. Somehow he was 118 miles to the North West when he crashed on Kinder Scout in low cloud.

It was a mystery that a pilot as accomplished Wing Commander Speare could make such an error. He saw the hill at the last moment and had evidently tried to climb above it, but to no avail, and he was killed instantly. He was 29 years old.

Wing Commander Speare had distinguished himself during the war, flying agents into occupied Europe. He was highly decorated (as you can see!) and was Mentioned in Despatches.

See this link for 3 terrific portraits of Wing Commander Speare including this one and an account of a fight between a Halifax piloted by him and a Ju88, over Denmark.

Details from PEAKLAND AIR CRASHES – THE NORTH by Pat Cunningham.

The cross is engraved with the words

Cheetah engine near the crash site of Avro Anson NL185

12 comments on “Avro Anson NL185. Kinder Scout, UK.
  1. het broertje van.. says:


    Dramatic place!!!

  2. Tony-H says:

    That’s an amazing error in his course. How on earth could that have happened …. quite mind boggling !

    Thanks for the image, the story and the link 🙂

  3. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Thanks for the history, Lest we forget.

  4. redrocker_9 says:

    Wow, very powerful shot, very…

  5. Tech Owl says:

    There seem to be so many crashes where with such experience, it just shouldn’t have happened.

  6. stuant63 says:

    Sad story. Wonder why he was so far off course??

    Fascinating accounts of the Halifax-Ju88 encounter too.

  7. Ian D B says:

    Cunningham speculates on the cause of that – suggests he may have set his compass wrong at the start of the flight, but acknowledges that detail was not recorded in the investigation.

    Wing Commander Speare was way over time when he made the decision to descend blindly through the clouds. Had he set his compass wrong, and noticed that he was way over time in reaching his destination, would he not have checked and noticed that error, turned back along the course he had flown, fuel permitting? There was no radio equipment on board apparently. Perhaps the only option left would have been to bale out, but how humiliating would that have been for a man in Wing Commander Speare’s position?

  8. laura maia1 says:

    His son Chris Speare was very good friend of mine. He sadly passed away on thursday 19th August age 68. He never spoke about his Father, I think it was too painful a memory for him, as he was only a small boy and his Mother was pregnant with his brother when Richard was killed. They were both amazing men.

  9. Ian D B says:

    Thank you very much for your comment Laura. Sad to hear the news of the death of your friend Chris. His name is familiar to me and others with an interest in aviation history from credits beneath photographs of Wing Commander Speare in books and on websites.

    That generation – those at war and those at home – shouldered such a terrible burden and deserve our respect.

    Kind regards

    Below – close up of the memorial cross at the site. It is engraved with the words


  10. Gavin young says:

    Just found his cross at his crash site……

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