Boulton-Paul Defiant N1766 on Rowlee Pasture, Peak District.

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Boulton-Paul Defiant N1766

Both crew survived when they baled out of their failing aircraft.

Pilot Flight Lieutenant Paul W Rabone from New Zealand and air gunner Flying Officer John Ritchie were on on a night navigation exercise from RAF Cranage, 13 April 1941.

The Defiant developed engine trouble, while their wireless packed in altogether. Lost in cloud, and mindful of the hills beneath, Flight Lieutenant Rabone climbed to 3,000 feet and the two men abandoned their aircraft. They both landed uninjured not far from where N1766 came down.

Flight Lieutenant Rabone was, says Cunningham, no stranger to parachuting. This was the sixth aircraft he had baled out of. The previous five times had been in Fairey Battles and Hawker Hurricanes (shot down three times, and once after engine failure and once when he lost control in a storm cloud at 22,000 feet)

Before he went missing over the English Channel in July 1944, he had shot down 10 enemy aircraft.

Cunningham points out that Flight Lieutenant Rabone did the right thing, that he did not ‘press on regardless’ as so many of the pilots of these wrecked aircraft had done with dreadful consequences.

Upon landing, Scotsman Flying Officer Ritchie’s accent caused him trouble convincing the farmer at the first place he knocked on, that he was not German.

5 comments on “Boulton-Paul Defiant N1766 on Rowlee Pasture, Peak District.
  1. Tech Owl says:

    Now this doesn’t have the ‘scorched earth’ of some of the other sites. The weather and rolling hills look wonderful too

  2. pasujoba says:

    Good to see that they survived this one .

  3. andyholmfirth says:

    A Scot being mistaken for a German – thats a good one ! Looks like you got a better day this weekend Ian ?

  4. Ian D B says:

    thanks all. Bryan, you’re quite right, whether there wasn’t much fuel on board I don’t know, but there’s lots of stuff growing in the impact crater as you can see.

    Better weather yeah, but I was outnumbered by the midges which plagued me in the middle of this marsh, in spite of being liberally doused in DEET.

  5. cgullz says:

    yes. great call by that man. good work the pair of them. glad this is just wreckage and a good tale, rather than a gravesite.
    [ironicall came across this pic doing a search on NZ WWII for the ToW group!] 🙂

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