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).