Hawker Hurricanes PZ851, PZ765, PZ854 on Tintwistle Knarr

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Hawker Hurricanes PZ851, PZ765, PZ854 on Tintwistle Knarr

Three Hurricanes from RAF Calveley were undertaking training in close formation flying when they crashed into Tintwistle Knarr in Longdendale on 22 February 1945, killing all 3 pilots.

The men served with RAFVR. Two were from Belgium – formation leader Flight Sergeant Ernest M L Marien and Flight Sergeant Marcel H L Orban, and their bodies were repatriated there. Flight Sergeant Robinson was from Hackney in east London and was aged 21.

It appears the formation leader failed to notice the looming hills in the industrial haze drifting across from Manchester and only saw the rising hillside at the last instant. He managed to pull back but it was too late and his aircraft hit the hillside flat on. The two flying in close formation behind him were watching their leader, and flew head on into the hill, seemingly not having had the moment’s notice of their fate that Flight Sergeant Marien had. All three died instantly.

Below: Until recently, only a few fragments of debris were visible at the site. However, a site visit in April 2022 following a fire on the moorland revealed this engine prop shaft and reduction gear. As Sean says, it is possible it has been there all along.
Grid ref SK 03527 98907

Below: the debris pool near the impact site, just a handful of fragments.

12 comments on “Hawker Hurricanes PZ851, PZ765, PZ854 on Tintwistle Knarr
  1. C J Paul (chris) says:

    nice work ian and a great set of images.
    it still amaze’s me about all the hidden secret of the peak district.

  2. rob of rochdale says:

    Time and again you manage to amaze me with your knowledge of this stuff. Top work Ian, as ever!

  3. **Hazel** says:

    Incredible images Ian and info!! Wonderful view of the area!!!!!

  4. pasujoba says:

    Terrific work Ian , Did you search the rocks higher up to see if you could tell where the lead aircraft impacted , the two following aircraft left small craters/scars.

  5. pasujoba says:

    The Hurricane designated PZ865 was the last one to be built by Hawker , these then were amongst the last batch of Hurricanes built.
    Am not the font of all knowledge but just happen to be reading ‘HURRICANE, Victor of the Battle of Britain’ by Leo McKinstry .

  6. gastephen says:

    Very nicely composed, Ian. Very poignant.

    ~ Graham ~
    Drop by my photostream!

  7. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Nice close up of a small but poignant site. I like the close up of the memorial plaque on the wooden cross, nice touch.

  8. Ian D B says:

    Thanks all.

    Interesting detail there, thanks for that Paul.

    I did clamber about the rocks for a while, but couldn’t see anything else. I took the MD and all but never used it, was happy to find these fragments. The comment the witness made about being able to see 3 holes in the hillside is intriguing though. Need to view from below, I suppose, and I approached this one from above. Also that might be easier in Winter.

  9. mick cooke says:

    great story ian and photos as well

  10. pasujoba says:

    The fragments I saw when I visited were in one of the shallow scree depressions caused by the impact. I could see another which contained a rotted memorial but could see nothing higher up for the lead aircrafts collision.

  11. delarever says:

    Congratulations, You Have Been Awarded A Delarever ACE


    Have you the co-ords for this, I was up there today GPS went dead on me. I had co-ords from Peak Wreck Hunters Blog, using OS map I may have been too low.

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