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The three crew on board survived when Wellington MF627 crashed on Rod Moor 6 miles WNW of Sheffield on 22 October 1952.
They had taken off from RAF Lichfield (No 6 Air Navigation School) on a night time navigation exercise, the pilot taking direction from two trainees using the ground electronic equipment (GEE) radar system.
Perhaps because one of the trainees was air sick and this affected his accuracy inputting the coordinates, the pilot began the descending while still 52 miles north of where he thought they were. Instead of clear air below them, there was the gentle slope of Rod Moor, 350m above sea level.
Cunningham says the pilot saw the ground looming towards him and pulled up the nose of the Wellington just before it struck the ground, crashed through a dry stone wall and came to a halt pointing downhill.
The inquiry held the pilot at fault, Cunningham says, for having too much faith in the information given to him by the trainee. He in turn – because of his airsickness – was removed from flying duties.
Sgt Reginald A Keith, pilot
PO David E Ward, navigator under training
PO Brian Thirkell, navigator under training
Details from Cunningham, 2006 (see bibliography).
Visiting the site
Although some reports say the broken wall pictured above is from the crash, it appears the wall was rebuilt but then fell down again. Lots of walls in the area are in this condition. The crash site is at grid reference SK 26395 89265 (courtesy of UK Air Crash Site Coordinates).
It is about 375m from the boundary of open access land and there is no right of way to it. I found no debris at or near the crash site.