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The crew of Wellington BK347 were on a navigation exercise when it crashed on the east side of Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales on 21 April 1944. The events leading up to the loss of the aircraft are all too familiar: lost and well off course in low cloud, the Wellington struck the side of the hill while descending as the pilot attempted to get a visual fix. All but the rear gunner were killed in the crash.
The photo above is looking roughly in the direction of where the debris used to be, over to the right. The aircraft struck the side of the hill.
F/O Ernest M Barrett, pilot, killed
Flt Lt Edward Alderson, co-pilot, killed
F/O Robert G C Brodie, bomb aimer, killed
Sgt Philip E Lomas, navigator, killed
Sgt Ronald C Holmwood, wireless operator/ air gunner, killed
Sgt Norman Skirrow, wireless operator / air gunner, killed
Sgt Joseph Marks, air gunner, injured
Please see Yorkshire Aircraft for more including photos of how the crash site used to look.
Visiting the crash site
Probably the easiest way is from Ribblehead Viaduct (it’s possible to park nearby) and follow the usual route taken by Three Peaks walkers through Little Dale and approach from the north. The area of the crash site can be quite boggy.
I climbed to the summit of Whernside from the south, then dropped down its steep eastern flank to the site.
There is a small but free car park opposite the church at Chapel-le-Dale, people can make donations if they wish. Please close the gate if using the car park and note the request not to use it on a Sunday. It’s a lovely walk up the lane beside the chapel.
I used the grid reference below, but as others have reported I could see no debris at all at the site, not a single fragment. It was a very hot day and I was extremely popular with the horse flies which were out in force, so I didn’t stick around for long.
Grid reference from UK Air Crash Site Coordinates SD 74157 81562