de Havilland Chipmunk WB579, last few remaining fragments.

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de Havilland Chipmunk WB579

Edit June 30th 2012.
Please see comment by the pilot below.

Pilot Officer Harry Bate Wright RAFVR, had a lucky double escape when his de Havilland Chipmunk crashed on Arnfield Flats, near Tintwistle, on the morning of Tuesday 3 July 1951.

Descending blind through low cloud and rain, Pilot Officer Wright thought he was close to base at Barton Aerodrome but was in fact some 15 miles east of there.

The pilot just saw the ground appear but he had no time to react and the fixed undercarriage of the aircraft struck the moor, flipping the Chipmunk over and onto its back.

When he came round, Pilot Officer Wright was hanging upside down in his harness and trapped in the cockpit of the trainer aircraft, which had been forced down into the soft peat.

Fearing there might be an explosion at any moment, he clawed his way out through the peat in a state of panic and managed to wriggle free of the wreck.

There was no explosion, luckily for Pilot Officer Wright. In a state of shock, he stumbled down the hillside to Arnfield Farm where the airman, plastered head to toe in wet black peat, was able to get some help.

Photo of the pilot, now on Flickr as Flyboy3014299
Please see his comment below for his memories of this crash.


Arnfield Farm. In the photo above it is just out of sight, upper left.

de Havilland Chipmunk WB579

The wreck photographed the day after. Photo from the Glossop Chronicle


Below; A Chipmunk landing at RAF Coningsby.


38 comments on “de Havilland Chipmunk WB579, last few remaining fragments.
  1. Richard Tierney says:

    Great again Ian… I loved flying in these as a young ATC air cadet out of RAF Woodvale, Ainsdale…

  2. Ian D B says:

    You’ve flown one of these Richard?

    My only experience of flying an aircraft out of Barton Aerodrome was in a Piper Archer.

    Here’s a shot of one taking off from Barton on egcc’s stream;


  3. nondesigner59 says:

    Excellent set of shots.. Great work..

  4. cgullz says:

    great tale, love the perspective in the shot Ian – really maximises the isolation. great description and additional informative shots.

    Archer – lovely stable plane, low wing or not a great cruiser.

  5. P_H_I_L_L says:

    Wow, the pilot was exceptionally lucky to walk away from that. Nice shot and editorial as always. Nice looking little plane.

  6. Mustang Koji says:

    Great researching once again, Ian! Congratulations. But I beg to any landing you can walk away from – or crawl – is truly a good one.

  7. rob of rochdale says:

    Blimey, he was a lucky chap to escape from that!

  8. andyholmfirth says:

    A lucky escape.Do like a happy ending now and again !

  9. mick cooke says:

    great story ian , bet the poor old farmer had a shock seeing him in that state,, great photos

  10. The_Photo_Boy says:

    Interesting work

  11. amyrey says:

    Terrific tale of a narrow escape.

    I bet he came as quite a shock to the farmer! Bog man knocking on your door – sounds like something from a low-budget horror movie.

  12. gastephen says:

    Great shot, Iain. Lovely composition, focus, textures and warm tones.

    ~ Graham ~
    Drop by my photostream!

  13. Keartona says:

    I can probably see this site from our back windows.

  14. Mark McKie says:

    Superb series of shots yet again mate!

  15. SolarScot. says:

    a lucky man for sure,ive been strapped into a Datsun Cherry upside down on fire and i can tell you im glad in those days you could wind the windows down and escape! i,ll send you my mobile number Ian,look forward to seeing you

  16. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone.

    Really? God almighty, that doesn’t sound good…. But oddly I smiled at the thought of a Datsun Cherry.

    Yeah will be in touch.

  17. The Neepster says:

    That was lucky indeed! Fab series of shots.

  18. pasujoba says:

    You made it up there then Ian .
    Not much left , I thought there would be more according to what had been reported.
    Superb shot and composition , You can see the scar and the view and the wreckage which is exactly the formula required 🙂
    great background info too , as always !

  19. C J Paul (chris) says:

    brilliant work again ian.
    cheers mate.

  20. Tech Owl says:

    The wreckage is set in the landscape well in the top shot Ian. Great to see all the other detail too

  21. Billy Currie says:

    lovely light there, not much left of that either. I would never have known what it was, great info again

  22. EverydayTuesday says:


  23. bill_fawcett says:

    Nice shot Ian and another extremely interesting piece of aviation history. Very well research and written. Nice to have a happy ending to this crash!

  24. Flyboy3014299 says:

    Interesting to read the comments about the Chipmunk crash as I was the pilot – still kicking and enjoying retirement in Melbourne, Australia. Takes me back to the bloody hands after escaping the broken cockpit, and the lady farmer at Arnfield farm on answering the door to find a rather muddied figure unable to speak – I then realised what shock was! After taking in the situation she took me inside for a cuppa, and after recovering and explaining said "Well, you are one lucky son of a gun". Have since enjoyed much flying in Sailplanes – beautifully serene and no petrol to worry about.!

  25. Ian D B says:

    [] Flyboy3014299

    Mr Wright it’s really good to hear from you! Thank you very much for adding your comments.

    I have copied across your portrait from your Flickr page and added to the photos above, hope that’s ok?

    I have previously been contacted by the relatives of pilots and crews who were involved in air crashes, or by people who were on the ground at the time and once by a passenger who was on a crashed Dakota, but never by a pilot before! Though of course most of the pilots and crews of the incidents I document never survived, alas.

    You probably know all this; the woman you refer to was called Katey Thompson, she was the girlfriend of Wright Cooper, the farm owner. She told the local newspaper reporter that you were so plastered in black peat it was hard to tell you were in uniform!

    Thanks again for taking the time to add a comment.


  26. The_Photo_Boy says:

    excellent work!

  27. mick cooke says:

    brilliant work ian , always a pleasure to visit your to visit your page and read your info and photos
    once again ian
    great work and take care
    oh and have a great week end

  28. pasujoba says:

    Terrific Ian . Its so good to hear from the pilot Harry Wright .
    A great read , some superb pictures and the cream too now ! :- ) …makes it all worthwhile !

  29. nondesigner59 says:

    Wow.!! I thought that was a Stone.!! Great set.

  30. salfordlad1 says:

    Great I stumbled across your stream..Enjoy seeing and reading about these..

  31. Gizzardtreedude says:

    Harry getting in touch is absolutely brilliant, must have really made your day 🙂

    Thanks for you recent comments, I really appreciated your sense of humour 🙂

  32. cgullz says:

    [] i’m with Paul on this one, this is a fantastic update – and so very very cool to have your story, your ‘presence’ here Mr. Wright[]. How absolutely wonderful!

  33. Far & Away (On Assigment in Angola, mostly Off) says:

    Beautiful !!

  34. Far & Away (On Assigment in Angola, mostly Off) says:

    Beautiful !!

  35. stopherjones says:

    Fascinating story and illustration as always, great to have insight from the man himself!

  36. andyholmfirth says:

    Incredible ! So good to hear first hand and that he’s still going strong!

  37. kaddikaddikaddi says:

    amazing place!

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