RAF Air Crash Sites 1939 – 1942


56 comments on “RAF Air Crash Sites 1939 – 1942
  1. Stanley Tudor says:

    As a boy aged 6,and on holiday in Blackpool with my parents in 1938(approx), we decided to visit Lytham St Annes airport to view the planes from a bridge over the Railway line which passed close to the airport.Having caught a tram to Lytham, my Mother, Father,older Brother and myself, set off across the field adjacent to the airport to mount the bridge for an improved view of the airfield.We were approximately 100 yards from the bridge, when a Bristol Blenheim Bomber that was in the process of taking off,lost engine power, tried to tilt sideways to get between two vertical columns on the airport boundary wall, but a wing tip unfortunately struck one of the towers and the plane spun sideways and crashed into the bridge which we had been heading to. All of the planes crew were killed unfortunately and if my family and myself had been 3 minutes earlier so would we.

    • Ian D B says:

      Interesting story Stanley, thanks for sharing that. I should probably be able to identify the aircraft and the exact date. Will take a look over the weekend, see if I have anything on it.

      • Stanley Tudor says:

        I was very pleased to receive your Email in regard to my query on my experience of the St.Annes air crash. Just as a matter of interest,I emigrated to Australia from UK in 1967, and on a return holiday trip in 1974 decided to visit the crash site.I was intrigued to see the bridge still existed
        and the difference in the colour of the bricks in the repaired area caused by the crash was clearly visible. Viewing google earth on the PC and scanning around also proved interesting. Thanks again for your interest. Regards Stan Tudor.

        • Ian D B says:

          Hi Stan,
          I’m afraid I cannot find anything in the usual resources, have looked through various databases, websites and books but nothing has turned up matching your description. I can find references to Blenheims crashing on take-off but those after 1940. However the very specific detail about the aircraft striking the bridge is referred to on one site which states only “1939 A Fairey Battle crashed into the bridge near the railway station killing 3 crew.” Could this be the incident to which you refer? Could you please email me if you can recall anything further? I think I have found the bridge to which you refer. It would be good to pin it down.

  2. Stanley Tudor says:

    After reading through your comments several times I am convinced that the Fairey Battle crash into the bridge over the railway line at Squires Gate Saint Annes in April 1939 was the crash I witnessed.
    I think I may have been mistaken about there being two brick towers which the plane tried to navigate through,and think its wing tip may have hit the roof of a building that was alongside the single tower,as the pilot banked the plane to avoid hitting the tower with its right hand wing.
    Regards Stan Tudor.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Stan, yes I reckon you are right. When time permits I shall try to find out more.
      Try having a look at the view on Google street, might stir some memories?

  3. Hilary Weston says:

    My family history research had hit a brickwall but within the last few days (April 2016), a stroke of luck and a report in national newspapers of 24.03.1939 identified a RAF plane crash just before WW2 on 23.03.1939. It was a Fairey Battle plane from Cottesmore, Rutland, night flying over Norfolk. It’s engine failed and it came down in flames at Mileham, Norfolk. The pilot was my relative Guy Shepherd. He was 19 years of age. The great coincidence is that I moved to Norfolk 12 years ago and Mileham is a neighbouring village. All these years of research and the answer was virtually on my doorstep. I hope to identify the site of the crash but local enquiries have so far been abortive. Has anyone had the story passed down to them?

    • Ian D B says:

      Hope someone will one day be able to provide further advice Hilary. It often happens. But you can increase the chances by posting your query on RAF Commands Forum. It will be worth your while joining and posting your enquiry.

    • Christopher Wright says:

      As a young girl living in Longham, my mother heard the aircraft fly low over the house and then crash.She like others went to help. Regret, aircraft was in flames and crew died.
      In later years she pointed out the crash site to me. It was located nearer to Bittering than Mileham and was on or near the unclassified road leading from the Longham Hall cross roads towards Mileham. Only a few hundred yards along from the crossroads.

    • Graham Davies says:

      I have some information on this crash, my grandad witnessed the crash

  4. Garth Long says:

    Hi. I am looking for the actual crash site of a Battle 1 of RAF Benson which crashed on a training flight in bad visibility at Cadeleigh 3 miles Ssw of Tiverton Devon on the 12 Sept 1940 at 1840. All crew died.

    • Vanessa Burgess says:

      I have found the crash site on 25th August 1940 of Blenheim L6782, believed to be a test flight a just a few miles away …. might hold some clues.

      • Stan Tudor says:

        Hi Vanessa, I was so interested in your comments about the Blenheim L6782 and as a young 7 year old, on the yearly annual works holiday which in those day was generally, always August and Blackpool,for Tipton Staffs people, from the Midlands. My parents decided to take myself and elder brother on the Tram to view the planes etc at Saint Anne’s and where crossing the field opposite the sea front to get a better elevated view from the bridge over the Railway Line, into the airfield.A plane which I have always thought was a Blenheim , crashed when struggling to gain height and it’s left hand wing tip clipped what I think was part of the building surrounding the airfield, which then sent it crashing into the bridge over the railway line which we where heading for,but fortunately were about 3 or 400 yards away from .My father who was an ex Soldier in the 1814 war in France and suffered with his heart was badly shaken by the incident and was given Brandy by the airmen officers that came to the scene. All of the planes crew died in the crash . I visited U K several years ago , and viewed the bridge while touring around, and the the repaired bricks really stand out as ” Scars of a Tragic Reminder “. Stan Tudor.

        • Vanessa Burgess says:

          Hi Stan/Garth Thank you. Clearly separate incidents, L6782 came down on private land in woodlands. The crew, (Austin being my sister’s father) and squadron were involved in the early development of night radar (which was shrouded in confidentiality), however there seems to be some connection. It is not known whether L6782 came down as a result of enemy fire (with weather conditions being clear we know enemy planes were in the area and landing at Exeter was refused as a consequence) or technical failure, both are equally plausible. I met locals from Cadleigh (but this crash site wasn’t mentioned) and also a 89 year old from Witheridge who was present at the crash scene the following morning of 26th August when I visited earlier on in the year. With more details I may be able to find out more of the Cadleigh crash.

  5. Nick Tait says:

    Hi I was reading a history of the Alnwick to Coldstream railway line recently which mentioned an aircraft crash on or near the line at Edlingham, Northumberland in May 1942. Can you supply any further details of this incident please. Thank you. Nick Tait

  6. Aron Bradley says:

    Hi there

    I’m a mountain biker and enjoy the country trails and that comes with strange sights sometimes.
    In my local wood Errington wood in Cleveland North Yorkshire, right at the top of the wood the trees have been thinned out but grown back over the years, at that same spot on the hill, there’s a bout a four to five meter wide crater, that goes down to approximately four or five feet in depth. around remembrance day there are always four crosses with poppies placed by its side.
    There is no debris, as it’s to close to population and would have been gathered up.

    I know there was a fighter / Bomber flight training school in a town called Saltburn which is litraly the next town down on the coast form the wood, I’ve looked about on the Internet for any information, I’m not finding any information regarding errington Wood and a crash site. ( not sure I’ve delved far enough )
    There is a war history in and on top of the wood with gun placements and such, bomb holes and cut trench paths.
    It’s also noted that Errington in the past has an important historic history with the near by blast furnace in Redcar and mining. not to mention the Bronze age.

    Thank you


    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Aron,

      I think the poppies could be there to remember the Wireless Operator of Wellington Z8853 who was killed when the bomber crash landed near New Marske on November 16 1941 after a raid on Germany. The date (around Remembrance Sunday) could tie in with the time you see the poppy crosses, though I am not sure if the location and description you give matches that in this report? And you say there are always four poppy crosses?

      A crash landing, which is what happened to this Wellington, would probably not leave any impact crater so it may not be what you are looking for but this is the only crash site I know of in that area.



  7. Aron says:

    Hi Ian

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    That’s interesting what you’ve posted and thank you.
    Yes there are always x4 crosses right next to the crater, I took pictures last year while I was biking as i was really intersted to find out what it’s all about.
    There’s a very small village called Upleatham at the bottom far side of the wood, that village has a few older residence dotted about, I’m going to ask if they know any history or know of anyone that may know anything about it, after all, I’m thinking it’s one of the residence that’s placing the crosses. ( could be totaly wrong with that assumption ).
    Someone obviously knows the significance.

    • Ian D B says:

      Knocking on doors often has good results. If not witnesses to the events, stories are passed on to the next generation. Let us know how you get on.

  8. simonsmrt says:

    Hi Ian, an RAF one for this this time that I wonder if you have any info on. I came across a book on Crowborough rugby club today that had a large chapter on the war that completely deviated from the history of the club and players and proceeded to go through a list of airplane crashes in and around the area. Crowborough is about 3 miles from the village of Rotherfield where I live. The Parish boundaries have changed since the war as at the time Crowborough was a tiny village smaller than Rotherfield. Now its an ugly sprawling modern commuter town of about 25,000 souls thanks to the railway and the draw of London. Anyhow one of the crashes or incidents might just qualify for inclusion in my list of Rotherfield parish crash sites as its on the modern parish border between Eridge (a village in Rotherfield Parish) and neighbouring Groombridge. I had no knowledge of it before reading the single sentence about it today.
    It says on 4th Jun 1941 a Spitfire from 303 (Polish) Sqn flown by Plt Off Klosin went into an uncontrollable spin. The pilot baled out and landed safely at Park Corner, Eridge. That’s it, no mention of where the Spit crashed or anything else. Any ideas?

  9. Ian D B says:

    Hi Simon, that’s interesting. I will take a look over the weekend and get back to you if I find anything from the books and databases I have.

  10. simonsmrt says:

    Another single sentence entry from Blitz over Sussex says it was a non-combat related crash/loss. However the Polish Sqns remembered website lists him as claiming a Bf109 destroyed on the same day. Maybe a victory roll that went wrong.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Simon, nothing in the books I have, a bit too far south for me!

      However, I found one internet entry that claimed Spitire P8205 was shot down by a Bf-109 over Tonbridge! Another page I found has the crash site as Crowborough.


      Is this the same page you found? Unsure if it is saying the Spit was destroyed by a bf-109 or whether it shot down the 109?


      Luftwaffe crash archive Vol 8 has an entry for that date (but nothing else that might fit), Bf109F-2 Wn.6707 >+3 of Stab JG53 “reported to have collided with a Spitfire 10 miles off Dover at 18.00 hrs. Ff: Heinrich Rohl lost without trace”

      I could be putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5 but is it possible that the Spitfire involved in the collision was P8205 and P/O Klosin was trying to get back to RAF Northolt in his damaged Spit but bailed out…?

      Some more research needed, I will leave this one with you for now but let me know how you get on.

  11. simonsmrt says:

    Intriguing, I’ll have to come back to it in slower time as I’m working on a couple of earlier ones first. I will try the village historian who might know more.

  12. Rob Beck says:

    Hi Ian I live near a Hawker hurricane Mk 2 N2662 crash site is Pelton Co Durham 5th Dec 1941 Sgt John Donald Lenehan (RCAF)of 55 OTU squadron based at Raf Usworth Sunderland I am researching this for the village and school children I am at a blank now I want to build a model memorial painting a model in exact colours/markings and find exact location so kids can leave a wreath can you help

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Rob, I have nothing new to add I’m afraid.

      Have taken a look in what books I have that might detail the incident (inlcuding Chorley, RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol 7 OTUs) but nothing has come to light.

      However, I note on the Pelton Pylon there is a reference to the aircraft coming down in a potato field in Southfields. Is this the same place do you suppose as the road named the same? Looking on Google street view, the houses look post-war? So the crash site could have been built on.

      Your best bet might be (if you haven’t already) to take a look in the local library, access the mircofilm copies of the local newspapers in the days / weeks after the event and see if there is anything reported. Due to wartime censorship there may not be, but often there is but with vague references to place names, sometimes photos too. If it is at this Southfields place, you could do a lot worse than knock on the doors and find the person who has been there the longest, see what they recall! Often yields results though memories do tend to rearrange the facts over time, I find.

      I note this Hurricane was one of 3 Hurricanes all of 55 OTU which crashed the same day in the north east;

      You could certainly write to the RAF Museum at Hendon, see if they have any records you can access.

      If you are able to identify the spot, finding a photo of N2662 might be even more difficult. However I just Googled “Hurricane Mk I 55 OTU” and a number of images came up, which may give you an idea as to the colour scheme and markings.

      Sorry I can’t provide anything concrete for you,


      • Rob Beck says:

        Hi Ian thank you so much for the information that you have given I will try the raf museum and the raf museum at Sunderland next to Nissan (Usworth) I think the crash site is on the new estate near Southfields Rd but I’m hoping if I contact Charlton’s at the farm they maybe able to help thanks again ill keep you posted. I not that a hurricane crashed 4 miles east of Seaham the same year can you help me with this crash please?

        • Ian D B says:

          No problem Rob. have taken a look at my books, nothing about that incident at Seaham though some internet researching might yield results. Most of the crash sites I have information about are on high ground alas.

        • Mark says:

          I live on Brackenbeds Close, Southfields, Pelton which I believe was built on a former potato field. These houses were built in 1990. I was wondering if you found any more info on the crash site. Could it be under my house!

          • Jim Pearson says:

            Hello Mark,
            I was born at Pelton in 1938,& have strong memories of the plane crash. I live now at Wellington in Somerset,but still have family at Barley Mow, where we
            moved too in 1948. Over the last few years I have been researching the plane crash, & I may have info. that could help you.
            Just recently (Oct) I paid a two week visit to Barley Mow & spent time looking for you at Brackenbeds Close (no luck). Please contact me ASAP

  13. Heather Parkinson says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could shed any light onto a story regarding a Spitfire crashing in a field in South Owersby, Lincolnshire. I have searched and found nothing but the story persists.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Heather, any indication as to the date of the crash or the year it is said to have happened? Or any other details you have?
      Ian D B

  14. rgcurtis says:

    Does anyone please have a record of an air accident in Somerset on 19/11/1940? My grandfather was injured and a neighbour killed in a vehicle accident avoiding the plane, but I can find no record of this. I think the accident would have been in the yeovilton area, but enquiry of the the RNAS archive provided no information. Thank you.

  15. Stanley Tudor says:

    Hi Ian, What an interesting and informative site this is !. I only wish that I was able to once more to return to UK and explore some of the sites mentioned in your latest Email .What a pity, in the days of 1939 when I was seven, technology and recording techniques where limited and necessarily strictly controlled,and so many lives lost without mention. Keep up the good work you are doing. Regards Stan Tudor.

  16. sue herapath says:

    my uncle, peter Heath was a pilot in the pathe finders bomber command. the plane was shot down in France and went down into water. I gather there is a memorial in France somewhere.

  17. Albert Usher says:

    In 1942, A Wellington returning from a night raid had to make a forced landing wheels-up in farmland near Burgh, Woodbridge in Suffolk,where the wartime US bomber base Debach was sited later.
    It was relatively undamaged, so RAF personnel were despatched to raise it sufficiently to get the wheeels down.
    The plane was then lined up ready for take-off,but when the engines were run up, it caught fire and the plane, including the kit and belongings of the ground crew, was destroyed. Any information on the plane or its base would be appreciated,

  18. An enthusiastic relative has edited and researched an excellent family history. Part of the history incorrectly details my father in law as crew member on a Blackburn Botha which crashed in Scotland. My own research carried out some years ago and based on survivor evidence proved this to be incorrect. The aircraft was an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley of coastal command which crashed North of Tongue in 1943 whilst attempting to return to Dyce. Two crew members survived one of whom was my father in law. My query is, has anyone done detailed research on this crash site that will prove interesting to include in the family history

  19. Sylvia Laidlow-Petersen says:

    Hi, I wondered if anyone knows how to get information of the Spitfire crash site in my village of West Langdon, near Dover Kent on 8 August 1940. Sadly the pilot. Fg Off Kennard-Davis died of his wounds 2 days later in Dover Hospital.

    • Simon says:

      Hi Sylvia, there is quite bit on this pilot from various sources.
      If I may first direct you to a friend on mine’s website who runs the London Battle of Britain Monument you will find the pilots biog there.

      As this pilot was shot down during the Battle of Britain there is more than the usual amount of info about him. If you want information about the pilot (his history etc I can send the detail. But the crash site isn’t as well documented from my sources. Most books state “crashed and burned out near West Langdon”.

      From The Battle of Britain Then and Now, it states his Spitfire L1039 caught fire during combat with Messerschmitt Bf109 fighters north of Dover at 12:05 pm. Pilot managed to bale out seriously wounded but died from his wounds.

      The Battle of Britain Combat Archive Vol2 by Simon Parry provides a lot more detail about the action reproducing the 64 Sqdn Intelligence report of the Spitfire patrol (detailed to patrol their base at Hawkinge). Kennard-Davis (Blue3) was shot down at the start of the engagement. The report goes on to state that the enemy’s air fighting was of a high order. Given that Kennard-Davis was a novice pilot who had only been with his Sqdn 5 days I suspect he was bounced before he knew it. His injuries included 20mm cannon shell wounds to his lower body, leg and chest and a fractured pelvis.
      Another pilot from the Sqdn was also shot down at Capel Le Ferne suffering a fractured right humerous and jaw but fortunately he survived. The Sqdn claimed 5 unconfirmed enemy fighters although only 1 was subsequently confirmed.
      Very little is given regarding the crash location of Kennard-Davis’s Spit apart from the standard near West Langdon.

      The curator of this website might know more?

  20. Ken Sanford says:

    I am looking for information of this RAF crash.
    391218 December 18, 1939 Clewer’s Bridge, Great Britain

    Aircraft: Hawker Hind

    Pilots: unknown

    A weekly aerial postal service was organized by the R.A.F. between the different units and the QG 41 at Andover. This one started on 2.9.39. The flight of 18.12 was operated by a Hawker, taking off from St.Athan (Wales). After stops at Aston Down, Kemble and Hullavington, it was not possible to land at Andover due to bad weather conditions. A landing attempt at Clewer’s Bridge ended with an accident. The pilot was able to recover the mail and to continue the journey by car until Weston-Super-Mare.

    I need the aircraft registration number and name(s) of the pilot(s)

  21. John Thompson says:

    My friend’s uncle died in Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV crash,(101 Squadron. Serial No. 5493), December 16th 1940. The aircraft was reuturning from a raid on Manheim.
    The crash site is listed as “Near Fair Light” Hastings, Sussex.
    He would like to visit the site if possible, but we can find no more information.
    Could anyone help please?

  22. Andrew Gurney says:

    Does anyone know details of a bomber that crashed in 1941-42 in the village of Wellington Heath, near Ledbury, Herefordshire? I’ve searched for some time now but cannot find any reports of the crash. I know this bomber crashed here because as a young boy I lived in this village when the bomber crashed and with young boys of my age we were at the crash site every day.

  23. David Addis says:

    Polish /RAF Halifax LL126 crashed in Long Ashton, Nr Bristol on 21st November, 1944, killing all seven crew.
    Any accident report or facts please, as we are building a War Memorial in the Village, and need information please.

  24. roy wale says:

    totnes in devon lysander collided with a spitfire earlyh 40s behind the cider factory

  25. Jim Pearson says:

    Hello Rob, my name is Jim Pearson, I was born in Pelton in 1938 & I may have info.that would be of interest to you. The Hurrican1 piloted by Sgt Lenehan just missed the roof of the 1st floor flat that my mother & I lived in, & almost knocked the chimney pots off the houses on the last street before crashing into the field.
    I believe that By his action, Sgt. Lenahan saved the lives of a lot of people in Pelton, & should be remembered as a Hero. I have left a message for Mark, & if possible the three of us could work together to give Sgt. Lenehan the hohour that he deserves.

  26. richard barton-sykes says:

    Hi , I am trying to find out about a Wellington bomber which crashed in the Welsh mountains ( a vague description from 311 sqn operations book), pilot was Sgt Keda the date was 6th April 1942. I have a connection with 311 Sqn, not with this particular person but a Wireless operator. I have a interest with 311 sqn.
    It doesnt stated coordinates just welsh mountains.
    Thank you for helping.

  27. John Watson says:

    I am trying to find information on a Lancaster bomber-Ithink- that crashed on the North Yorks moors above Danby. I only remember the site as we would walk there as young lads and try to find some of the wreckage. The remaining wreckage was dug out and the moor was levelled back to its original state. some of the plane would go to a Ken Ward museum.
    Thank you
    John Watson

  28. Mick Balmer says:

    I’m interested in the crash of Hurricane V6701 from 55 OTU on September 26 1941 near Seaham Hall, Co Durham.
    I believe that the trainee pilot Z Zarebski baled out and went on to fly with 303 Squadron before converting to fly bombers. He was killed in late January 1945 when his Lancaster PB846 was shot down on a Stuttgart raid.
    Does anyone have any further detail on the Seaham incident please?

  29. My name is Co Maarschalkerweerd, age 84, and for many years I have been befriended, from December 1963 until his death (cancer) in 2000. His was a crewmember (rear gunner) of Manchester 7518 No61 SQN. Which crahes in Northern Holland in the night of 25/26 March 1942. Sometime before however, he was involved in another crash (Manchester L735) which crashed at Wittering on the 14th of March 1942. Does anyone know more about this crash or have any photograph(s) of this Wittering crash?! PLease write (email) to me!

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