‹ Return to USAAF Crash Sites 1942 – 1945
P-47C Thunderbolt 41-6195 near Aled Isaf Reservoir
08 July 1944. Second Lieutenant Orin Wahl was flying his Thunderbolt as part of a formation out of the USAAF base at Atcham in Shropshire. Upon aborting an attempted Immelman manoeuvre (see below) in formation, the aircraft stalled and went into a spin. 2nd Lt Wahl managed to bail out and safely parachuted down. He was eventually found having a pint in a pub. His aircraft had plummeted to the ground, crashing on Moel y Bryniau, near Aled Isaf Reservoir in north Wales.
Visiting the site
A narrow road branches off from the A543. As a reference, I used the postcode for the now closed Sportsmans Arms, LL16 5SW which is 2 miles north-east of the turning. There are plenty of places to pull over along the road but turning your car around may be more of a challenge. The crash site is at grid reference SH 91585 59185300, a 300 metre tramp across tussocky moorland.
Though there are reports of and old photos showing fragments of debris, I could find none near the impact crater. I groped around up to my elbow in the muddy boggy water but could find no metal debris, so I cannot say with 100% certainty this is the exact spot, but if pressed would say it is. It would take a sweep with a metal detector (with the landowner’s permission) to determine for sure.
In 1996, Terence R Hill (‘Down in Wales 2 – Visits to more wartime crash sites’) wrote, “Only a few years ago the ground was littered with alloy fragments but, it seems, some enthusiastic ‘collector’ has removed the lot – a pointless exercise.”
The lead photo above is looking towards the crash site from the road between the A543 and the village of Llansannan.
Below: the impact crater is almost lost from sight among the grasses. Looking east.
Looking west to Aled Isaf reservoir.
41-6195 would have looked similar to this Thunderbolt of the same Fighter Training Squadron at Atcham.
These two diagrams explain the Immelman manoeuvre.