Halifax Bomber DK185 on Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire

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Halifax DK185 on Ilkley Moor

66 years ago today (January 31st 1944) Halifax Bomber DK185 crashed on Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire while on a training exercise. The Halifax was crewed mostly by Canadians. It is understood one crew member briefly survived the crash and was able to tell the rescue party that they had become lost and were trying to find their way home, when the Halifax struck the moor and burst into flames.

The memorial plaque nearby includes the request;
“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave life today”

There are 2 wreckage pools at this site, and a recently added memorial.

Pilot Officer Donald G McLeod RCAF, Pilot, aged 21, of Waterford, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt Felix Byrne RAFVR, Flight Engineer, aged 20, of Plains, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Warrant Officer Lewis Riggs RCAF, Navigator, aged 20, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt Robert H Rahn RCAF, Bomb Aimer, aged 22, of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Warrant Officer William G King RCAF, Wireless Op / Air Gunner, aged 27, of Teepers Creek, Alberta, Canada.

Sgt George Martin RCAF, Air Gunner, aged 20, of Spanish, Ontario, Canada.

Sgt Albert Lorne Mullen RCAF, Air Gunner, aged 19, of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

dk185 canadian crew

Photo of the Canadian crew members, taken from Richard Allenby’s site;


Below; A Handley Page Halifax bomber
Handley Page Halifax

24 comments on “Halifax Bomber DK185 on Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire
  1. redrocker_9 says:

    They look so happy before, it’s very sad.

  2. Tech Owl says:

    Excellent shot Ian –

  3. pasujoba says:

    Great shot and some superb background info , well researched Ian .
    I like how the sunlight catches the poppy 😀

  4. mickb6265 says:

    your usual great stuff,ian…and just check out how bloody young the crew were..another age sadly passed,but great courage was normal..

  5. rob of rochdale says:

    You never fail to amaze me with these crash sites. i really never knew any of them existed, just never even entered my head I guess

  6. stuant63 says:

    Just young lads – so sad.

  7. mick cooke says:

    stricking photo ian,

  8. Tony-H says:

    God, they were all so young, their adult lives only just started really. But this sad story is just so typical of many of that time …

  9. tadge o' delph says:

    I also like the way the poppy catches the light. Nice shot Ian!

  10. Neal. says:

    I remember seeing a grave in Crete of a bomber crew and the grave was so small I could only conject that there wasn’t much left of them to bury which gives you a bit of a chill.

  11. SolarScot. says:

    they were so young

  12. Deputy Don says:

    Your postings of these sites and the research you’ve put in always make me pause and think, Ian. Up to now Ilkley Moor has just been the name of a place in a song to me, but I’ll think of it a bit differently now.

  13. Steve P.Kane (S.P.K.Photography) off & On says:

    Excellent my friend

  14. Steve P.Kane (S.P.K.Photography) off & On says:

    Excellent my friend

  15. het broertje van.. says:

    Such a sad story man!!!!

  16. McAlister says:

    Nice shot – the poignant poppy really makes me sad. I love the fact that you have a photo of the crew.

  17. Billy Currie says:

    I love that wee poppy, it just makes the image

  18. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    As I mentioned in Pasujoba’s stream, there isn’t a lot left from the size of an aircraft of the Halifax is there?
    The foreground light and the poppy are nice.

  19. Ian D B says:

    many thanks for all the views and comments and that, always appreciated.

  20. Mr DoeyBags says:

    I have images of the graves of the Airmen in my stream, http://www.flickr.com/photos/maverickapollo/sets/72057594137470411/

    All resting at Harrogte War graves, in Stonefall cemetery.

  21. D K Harrison says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting these pictures and account of the crash. I walk Ilkley Moors many times and always stop at the memorial and say a few words. My father was a Flight Engineer in bomber command. On New Years Eve 1944 the Lancaster he was in was shot down whilst on a raid over Germany. Half the crew died, but he managed to bale out and avoid capture and made his way back to Allied lines. I was born in 1946. These young men died on friendly soil whilst serving to defend our way of life, far away from their own homes. Such is fate. They won’t be forgotten – David

  22. Marc Pedneault says:

    I found a medal engraved L. Riggs Navigator R148524. Does anyone know how to get it to the remaining family members.

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