USAAF P-38 Lightning 41-7669, Cliviger, Burnley

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USAAF P-38 Lightning 41-7669, Cliviger, Burnley

On the morning of September 1st 1942, Second Lieutenant Lyle L Williams was killed when his P-38 Lightning crashed during a training excercise near the village of Hurstwood in Lancashire. Flying from RAF Atcham near Shrewsbury, the 14th Fighter Group had only arrived a couple of weeks earlier from Hamilton Air Force Base in California and hadn’t had any contact with the enemy.

The pilot emerged from a bank of low cloud, just seeing at the last instant the ground looming ahead. He tried to turn away and almost made it, but his starboard (right) wing clipped the higher ground above Crow Holes Farm, sealing the fate of both pilot and aircraft; the stricken P-38 crashed through some woods narrowly missing the farm and across a field before falling into the brook called Rock Water, pictured above.

There is no visible wreckage. I spoke with the farmer at Crow Holes, he had been there all his life and knew of no wreckage. Still, I got a good soaking searching the bed of the brook and the area around for anything that looked like it might have come from an aircraft. There’s always hope!

The aircraft struck the higher ground just behind my viewpoint here…

…crashed through these treetops over a farm track

…and came to rest in the brook at the brook at the bottom of this clough.

15 comments on “USAAF P-38 Lightning 41-7669, Cliviger, Burnley
  1. DENIS SEXTON says:

    I visited this site in 1982 carried out search over some weeks found a small piece of alloy skin red paint on one side but not sure if from aircraft. there is also some talk of 41-7669 coming out of low cloud & hitting a balloon cable over Burnley the Pilot then tried to put the aircraft down in Cant Clough Reservoir but under shot hitting banking of a stream catapulting the pilot & seat over the banking & a dry stone wall into the next field where he was found he did not survive. The reason there is no wreckage is that it was cleared up at the time so i was told.

  2. I visited the crash within a couple of hours after it happened as did hundreds of other kids who all took bits of the plane home with them.I still have a piece, you can have it if you want it.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thank you Barry, could you please send me a photo of it – my email address is on the contact page – and I will add it to this page with a credit to you?

    • Jo Green says:

      Can you direct me to the site.
      I have lived in Worsthorne and searched for this site for over 40 yrs and I still can’t find it.x

  3. John Waring says:

    I grew up at Shedden Farm some 2 miles along Foxstones Lane from the crash site. I was 9 when this Lightning came down.Your report describes the crash as i understood it. The plane hit the stone wall, cut a track through the young trees and ended up by the river. Bits were spread about but they were very quickly collected and stacked in the field behind Crow Holes Farm before being removed.I do not know where they were taken.
    Today the track through the trees cut by the plane remains as a reminder or memorial to the tragic accident.

  4. Mrs Jayne Shackleton says:

    Good Morning Ian, This is a very interesting site. I don’t think too many local people know of this air crash. I am researching the local area and would like to get in touch with Mr John Waring who grew up in the area at Shedden Farm. Would it be possible for you to put me in touch with him.
    I would be grateful.
    Kindest Regards

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Jayne,

      I have emailed John, have forwarded your email address and request, and he may also see these comments.

      Glad you like the website! Good luck with your research.


  5. Jayne Shackleton says:

    Thank you Ian,
    Very much appreciated



  6. Vaughn William Jolly says:

    Hi all where was the pilot laid to rest.
    Thank you

  7. shirley ashton says:

    I know this isnt the same crash but im looking for one in 1942 in the burnley area where one of the crew or pilot was named jack or John . Is there anyone on here who can help me with this query ?

  8. Roger Wood says:

    My mother, Freda nee Stanworth was born on a farm in Hurstwood and she witnessed the crash.
    She told me some aeroplanes flew over and there was one plane lagging behind with smoke coming from it and it crashed at what is known locally as the Rocks.
    I remember playing in the river which flows past the Rocks in about 1958 and finding some rusty metal in the river and my mother said it was probably from the plane crash.

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