Westland Lysander V9403, Slate Pit Moor, Saddleworth.

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Lysander crash site on Saddleworth Moor

Both crew survived the crash, but wireless operator Leading Aircraftman Alan Masheder Chadwick died of his injuries within a week.

Lysander V9403 was with the No.6 RAF Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit.

Pilot Officer Frederick W Hoddinott was flying the Lysander from Ringway (Manchester) to Rhyl in North Wales to liaise with the anti-aircraft guns and searchlights defending the area, in the early hours of August 19th 1941.

Flying over a blacked out Manchester, and in cloud, Pilot Officer Hoddinott was relying on his compass, and having no doubt he was anywhere other than 1,800 feet above the Cheshire Plains, the Lysander crashed in the Pennines.

The two airmen were trapped beneath their wrecked aircraft, injured and unable to move, through that dawn and all the next day and night. A sharp eyed Water Board worker at the high level Chew Reservoir noticed the irregular shape on the horizon the next morning, and tramped across the moor to investigate.

One blog on the internet states that the gyrocompass was not working properly, causing the Pilot Officer Hoddinott to fly in the opposite direction. Cunningham says that this is what Hoddinott has always maintained, but adds that the inquiry at the time deemed the Pilot Officer to have taken an incorrect bearing in the first place.

Under the circumstances, it’s easy to empathise with Hoddinott. Cunningham comments that it is a mistake easily made, hill walkers in particular can confuse North with South when navigating across country. Certainly I have set out in full confidence, only to realise eventually that I am walking in exactly the opposite direction intended. On foot, the consequences are usually less tragic.

Details from Peakland Air Crashes – The North by Pat Cunningham (2006).

17 comments on “Westland Lysander V9403, Slate Pit Moor, Saddleworth.
  1. Billy Currie says:

    Love these, so interesting, something I had never really thought about till is saw your pics and stories. Very good

  2. Tech Owl says:

    Moody sky to go with the shot – nice capture Ian.
    Love to see these latest ones in the Preserved group!

  3. Ian D B says:

    Of course! Thanks both.

  4. andyholmfirth says:

    Moody atmosphere to this.The survivors owe that water board bloke big time !

  5. humilesspiritu says:

    So, Ian, not knowing anything about crash wreckage. These are just left lying out in the elements to disintegrate?

    Nice shot, very emotive with the sky and the cross

  6. Ian D B says:

    Hi Lesley, thanks. yeah, there’s not much left. varying degrees of wreckage left depending on the locale and how much gets lifted by souvenir hunters. In the case of this Lysander, there’s just a few fragments left.

  7. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    Love this one — your crop is great. Love the low angle and the moody sky.. perfect catch

  8. Steve P.Kane (S.P.K.Photography) off & On says:

    these are great shots my friend

  9. Steve P.Kane (S.P.K.Photography) off & On says:

    these are great shots my friend

  10. Highy says:

    Great compo and light Ian, like that patch of light in the bottom right.

    Know what you mean about the North and South thing – I set of 180deg wrong on the Cairngorm in a white out a few years back. I was fortunate to realise within a couple of mins, but I still remember how easily I did that!

  11. redrocker_9 says:

    Well done as always, I love the sky shown in this~

  12. pasujoba says:

    Great work Ian.

  13. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    This shot is so atmospheric, blends nicely with the story. Didn’t they use the Lysander for SOE drops as well due to their short take off and landing requirements?

  14. Ian D B says:


    I read something like that about Lysanders, I think they were very quiet aircraft too.

  15. stefanofox1963 says:

    does anyone know the grid ref for this site

  16. Ian D B says:

    Hi Stephen, will send you a PM.

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