Mosquito HK141, Striding Edge, Helvellyn.

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Mosquito HK141, Striding Edge, Helvellyn

Australians Warrant Officer William G D Frost (pilot) and Flight Sergeant Corbie F Marshall (navigator) died when their de Havilland Mosquito crashed into Striding Edge on Helvellyn on February 10th 1945.

The wreckage of the aircraft fell down the cliffs and into Red Tarn. There’s very little left and we didn’t expect to find anything given the snow cover and that the area is very popular with hillwalkers. This was the only bit found, it was at the edge of Red Tarn but it’s enough.

HK141 had taken off from RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire on a night exercise. There was low cloud and the hills were covered with snow. It appears the crew drifted off course and as their fuel ran low, W/O Frost was attempting to nose down through the cloud – rather than bale out – in the hope of getting a visual fix when the aircraft crashed into the mountainside.

Edit November 2014. There might not be much remaining by the edge of the lake but this superb photo of the fuel tank provides a unique view of what lies below the surface of Red Tarn. Photo used with kind permission of Christian Ashby of High Wycombe Sub-aqua Club. Many thanks to Christian, Stuart and Ian.


The wider scene, Striding Edge rising up to Helvellyn.


140 years earlier, this was the scene of another tragedy. An artist, Charles Gough, unknown at the time but to acheive fame only after his death, was climbing Striding Edge in the hope of getting in some really dramatic painting. Accompanied by his dog, he set out on April 17 1805 and was never seen alive again. His remains were found by a shepherd at this spot, 3 months later, his faithful dog by his side. Charles Gough had fallen to his death from Striding Edge.

Various artists were immediately inspired by the romantic ideal of the faithful dog guarding the master’s body, as in this painting by Landseer. There was a sad irony in that a young man set out to record romantic images but became the subject of one himself. Alas the reported account is a little more harsh. When found the bones of Mr Gough were scattered around, and the dog was looking decidedly well fed!

Attachment by Edwin Landseer. Image from Wikipedia Commons

22 comments on “Mosquito HK141, Striding Edge, Helvellyn.
  1. Richard Tierney says:

    Another super job Ian… brave man up there in that weather. Amazing you found some wreckage all these years later and so close to the lake edge.. Fascinating "add on" re the painter. Bad Dog ! 🙂

  2. **Hazel** says:

    You have brought a tear to my eye Ian!! Both very sad stories Well done to Paul spotting the piece of wreckage, it really made the journey successful for you.

    A sad story about the climber. I am speechless at the conclusion of the story!!

  3. P_H_I_L_L says:

    Great pictures Ian, I like how you always leave a little remembrance cross. Very nice. Lest we forget and all that. Great bit of info as well especially the bit about the dog. No match for greyfriers bobby though.

  4. Keartona says:

    Ooooh I bet Lanseer wouldn’t have found the truth something that he wanted to depict. Would have made a gruesome painting!

  5. pasujoba says:

    great work Ian , there is a memorial on Striding Edge to Gough , but it took me a few walks across it to notice it …its behind you goes the cry 🙂 hidden away.

  6. andyholmfirth says:

    As ever really insightful background information Ian.I find the poppy cross,wreckage and snowy wastes beyond a very evocative combination.

  7. SolarScot. says:

    since you got me interested in this subject Ian it is amazing the number of crashes,i now know a Spitfire crashed not half a mile form where i,m sitting,always sad though to read of these young lads losing their lives

  8. C J Paul (chris) says:

    great work well done mate again brilliant info

  9. mick cooke says:

    brilliant work Ian, photo with wreckage and poppy is brilliant

  10. 5DII says:

    A very moving photo.

    Best wishes.


  11. tadge o' delph says:

    Very emotive shot and accompanying story Ian. Nice work.

  12. Ian D B says:

    Many thanks everyone.


    Cheers John, good to know these photos stir an interest, no-one in the UK is ever very far from these places.

  13. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Great Job again Ian, thanks.

  14. PSParrot says:

    Very interesting

  15. deebeenas says:

    Flight Sergeant Corbie F Marshall was my uncle

  16. Al says:

    Great stuff, love the divers picture – that has to be a first for your site!

    • Ian D B says:

      Cheers Al. Yeah it’s a first. Not sure if I’d be any good, I’d be hyperventilating and getting the bends before I even stepped into the water. But it’s a neat addition, have often wondered what is in these lakes.

  17. Simon brown says:

    I dived with my dad in red tarn and Penrith sub aqua club looking for the mosquito about 1976

    Lovely day although fi remember the walk carrying all our cylinders was a bit exhausting

    We found a bent fuel guauge which I had for many years but may have unfortunately been thrown out.

  18. Alec Turner says:

    Maltby Sub Aqua Club dove on Red Tarn in 1990.
    It was a challenge carrying all that kit up.
    I took part in the snorkel survey around the shallows finding an oil cooler and a section of what looked like exhaust or air intake manifold similar to that pictured.
    Well done to the guys finding the fuel tank, we had two teams dive ‘the plug’ looking for those and the engines but no joy.

  19. Stuart says:

    Warrant Officer William Frost was my grandfathers brother. He died a long way from home.

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