Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger FN 821, Llangynog, Wales.

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Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger FN 821, Llangynog

Visited this little known crash site today. Not much info available about this air crash. One source gives the date as 2/2/44 not 3/2/44 and that FN821 – of 848 Squadron – crashed in cloud whilst armed with a torpedo, with 3 crewmen killed.

The impact crater is obvious and the boggy ground absorbed the aircraft, hiding it from view. But it has since been dug up.


3 February 1944 FN 821 of the Fleet Air Arm took off from Gosport on the south coast of England for a transfer of unit flight to Machrihanish, then on to the new station of HMS Robin in the Orkneys, north Scotland. A flight of about 1000 miles in total.

On board were 1st Pilot S/L William Seddon Appleby aged 24 from Gisbourne New Zealand. 2nd Pilot S/L Ernest Hartley Green aged 22 from Sheringham Norfolk. Observer S/L Joe Lupton aged 21 from Morley.

A stop off & refuel point may have been RAF Valley in Anglesy, North Wales, it was on a bearing for this airfield that FN 821 ran into a heavy snowstorm near Llangynog, North Wales. Control of the aircraft was lost and FN 821 plunged into the boggy hillside of Trum-Y-Fawnog, losing part of a wing on the way down.

Photo below; a poignant bit of wreckage which had escaped the attentions of those who remove wreckage to wherever – an emergency door release mechanism from the aircraft. We buried it near the crash site.


Photo of a Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger

Image from WWII in Color

37 comments on “Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger FN 821, Llangynog, Wales.
  1. Gary Shield says:

    An amazingly atmospheric shot, Ian. Superb lighting and composition. Just drive passed Gosport today infact.

  2. Tech Owl says:

    Wonderful series and detail as usual Ian – it does look a totally different type of place to the others you have shot.
    The main image is rather good, with the light filtering through the trees – Nice One!

  3. andyholmfirth says:

    Fascinating as ever Ian.Lovely light there amongst the trees – gives it all a real atmosphere.

  4. **Hazel** says:

    So young Ian!! I am always amazed how many aircraft crash sites there are in the UK!
    It is good to know that through your excellent series of photos the lost men will not be forgotten!
    A brilliant shot, the light shafts gives it a very poignant feel!

  5. P.A.B. says:

    Some really atmospheric shots there Ian, real nice light!

  6. *Psycho Delia* says:

    This is just amazing..

  7. pasujoba says:

    Fabulous series of shots Ian , and I like the background info too .

  8. gastephen says:

    Top job!

  9. Through Collette's eyes says:

    The light makes it eerie but beautiful – really like this : )

  10. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    love the ghostly light in this shot — makes it all very poignant

  11. rob of rochdale says:

    That’s a superb shot Paul. The light makes it both eerie and poignant

  12. GaryJS â„¢ says:

    Fantastic set of shots Ian! Nice light and well found in that woodland!

  13. Florence et Ghislain says:

    Wouah, what a misterious place! Very good work my friend 😉

  14. C J Paul (chris) says:

    AMAZING this is a great set of picture’s. i love your work and I’m a ture fan mate.

  15. Neal. says:

    Very atmospheric and the story, as always, fascinating and poignant.

  16. mick cooke says:

    great story ian

  17. tadge o' delph says:

    Great shot Ian, great light streaming through the woods.

  18. Tony-H says:

    I’m always amazed that remnants of these old wrecks are stil to be found … thans for the background story Ian !

  19. SolarScot. says:

    such sad places and yet i feel their bravery.
    meant to tell you neal and i,s mother told us how as a young girl she found a dead german airman washed up on the beach near dunbar which is on the south east coast of scotland at a site where Torness power station is,she ran up to a cottage to tell an old woman that lived there what she had found,they called the police and my mother knows no more of the story,the cottage is now derelict,i know that the rail line runs near there and the germans often fired onto the line as they flew home

  20. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone.


    Cheers John.

    One of those wartime stories, common at the time, but we look at older people now, and it’s hard to think what they had to put up with.
    it’s a sad detail too about the Luftwaffe crews firing on civilians below. First few times you hear that, you think, Nah, they wouldn’t do that. But many did, shot at firemen on the ground as well, think it happened to my Grandad once. I have no idea if RAF or American crews ever did that over Germany or occupied Europe? Your gut says not, but then…?

  21. McAlister says:

    This is just beautiful – the light is lovely. This really is an amazing series you have here.

  22. DuncanR.... says:

    A truly brilliant shot, very evocative with the light streaming through the trees.

  23. Richard Tierney says:

    Some great info and pictures Ian.. came accross you site by chance… As regards allied pilots shooting up civilians, I am sure it happend possibly as collateral damage.. shooting up trucks etc in the middle of villages etc… I heard a story of a P51D pilot saying he used to straffe cows in the fileds because they were a military target ( food for the German army ) What about milk for the kids? War does a lot to man… a lot of it for the worse 🙁

    This along with all other crash sites still havign wreckage strewn about the surface, is a real sad reminder and also reminds one that a huge number of crew were killed on training and ferry flights, not in action.

  24. Ian D B says:

    Thanks Richard. Yeah, it was total war. No winners. Agreed re; training fights, every time they took to the skies, there was a good chance they wouldn’t return.

  25. Lazenby43 says:

    Just viewed it large. I like the way you have brought the green out, the green in the hanging moss. The shafts of light in the background are also very interesting.

  26. PaulGibsonPhoto says:

    This is a great shot, very poignant. I am surprised (but pleased) that the wreckage is left where it ended up as a memorial. I’d have expected that some people might try to steal pieces?

  27. Ian D B says:

    Thanks Jeff, thanks Paul.

    It is a contentious issue – should wreckage be left where it is or removed? I understand this site has only recently been dug up, and the ‘prize’ bits – engines, components, anything with markings on, that sort of thing – removed. Removed to where?

    It may be that the wreckage has been taken to a museum… Maybe, maybe not. I have no idea. In order to recover remains, permission must be sought from the MoD. Whether that was approved at this site or not, and what plans were put forward is not known to me.

    Personally, I do not think museums are the places for wreckage from crash sites, unless a really good exhibition is to be made of it. Even then, I have my reservations; wreckage in museums looks like what it is – scraps of old aluminium and rusty components gathering dust in the corner of a building. Take the wreckage from the site and it loses all relevance, it is out of context. Pointless really.

    I don’t think much of people who take wreckage home with them (and I don’t mean people who collected souvenirs at the time of the crash, but people who visit now and see a small pile of debris and take a piece leaving the pile even smaller). It is, as you say, stealing. It shows disrespect for the place and its history.

    As for the argument that if people didn’t dig up wreckage there’d be nothing left to see… Personally I’d prefer it if it was left where it was, underground. After the initial salvage operation, the only place wreckage should be is the earth into which it crashed. It is part of the landscape, and a tangible link to our past. I would prefer to visit a site with no visible remains knowing there is still something below my feet, than one where the remains are hauled away for whatever reason leaving a few fragments left behind from the dig.

  28. fleabo says:

    enjoyed looking through your stream, the crash site pics are fascinating. The light in this is fantastic.

  29. Ian D B says:

    Thank you very much.

  30. AceFlyboy1 says:

    my respects to the crew their family and friends

  31. gary phillips says:

    Hi have been to many crash sites in North Wales but not this Avenger FN821 is there a map grid ref for this site,many thanks.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Gary, apologies for the late reply. I can’t find the grid ref for this site. Usually I have them noted on maps but unable to find the right map just now. I will keep looking and get back to you if I find it. Am sure others will have it though.

      • Cameron Paterson says:

        Hi Ian & Gary
        I’m an Aviation Historian and attempted to visit this site today, but failed to find it. I have an old GR (from the David J Smith book) of SJ 013257. However that is now in an area of deforested plantation, and while I made my way through some of it, it quickly becomes impenetrable — the new trees and debris from the deforestation make the going extremely hard, with lots of deep, water filled holes. As I was on my own, I made my way to the remaining forested area to the west of the above GR. These woods still look like where the accident site photos are taken, but with many downed trees, it is also borderline impassable, and already knackered from my efforts, I made my way out on to the moor and down. Halfway down, I happened to meet the local land owner, who confirmed that the wreck is “still in the woods”, but hard to find, and with “little remaining to see”. If anyone has an accurate (hopefully 10 digit) GR, I may go back.

        • Ian D B says:

          Hi Cameron, hi Gary,

          I have found the grid reference for this crash (and also just noticed a typo from 11 years ago where I got the aircraft number wrong). The site is at SJ 01390 25604. You can see on Google maps etc that the forest has gone but the crater and debris are still there.


  32. Steve says:

    I visited this site today, incredibly difficult to access due to the tree cover, after some searching, I did find the crater, with numerous parts of the wreckage still present, plenty of twisted alloys, sections of wiring loom, with parts of the landing gear and shredded tyres still identifiable.
    Despite a reasonable gap between the recently planted tree crop and the crater, a thick layer of saplings is now taking hold right up to the crater edges, which will make the site all but impossible to find in years to come.

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