Current Aviation Archaeology News
The stories of some recent digs and further news items appear in our magazine 'Aviation Archaeologist'. Recent issues are still available, see the linked images on the left.
The memorial stone which was lifted into place at the crash site of Avro Anson N9857 of No.19 OTU on Ben More Assynt during 2013 was dedicated with a service at the site on the 12th June. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have released a new item and further information can be found on Heavy Whalley's blog.
Recovery of Missing Air Crew
During early June it was reported by the CBC that following the discovery in October 2013 of a Avro Anson crash site on Vancouver Island, BC, that human remains found were those of the missing crew of Anson Mk.I L7056 of No.32 OTU. They have since been recovered from the crash site and arrangements are being made to bury the crew, who until now have been remembered on the Ottawa Memorial, by the RCAF, RAF and Commonweath War Graves Commission.
The news was first reported by the RCN Navy News in November.
An extensive thread with information about the loss and the crew involved is on the RAF Commands Forum.
Ben More Assynt Memorial
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have announced that work has been completed on the replacement memorial over the grave of the crew of Avro Anson N9857 on Ben More Assynt with the lifting of the granite block to the site by an RAF Chinook heavy lift helicopter. The news was also reported by BBC Scotland.
Goodwin Sands Dornier 17
The remains of a Dornier 17 have been raised from Goodwin Sands off Ramsgate today for conservation by the Royal Air Force Museum. The news was carried live by the BBC, photographs will be available from many news sites over the next few hours.
Sunderland Mk.III EJ134 Memorial at Praa Sands, Cornwall
A memorial has been unveiled overlooking the beach where a Short Sunderland was beached following a ditching just off shore on the 2nd June 1943. A photograph of the unveiling and further information is available on the BBC News site. The aircraft, EJ134 of No.461 Squadron, came ashore at Praa Sands between Penzance and Helston on the south coast of Cornwall. Further information about the circumstances of the ditching can be found on N/461.
Partial rebuild of P-51C 42-103007 at East Kirkby
The partial rebuild for static display of P-51 Mustang 42-103007 by the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group is making steady progress at East Kirkby - more details via link http://silksheenphotography.co.uk/resident-aircraft/mustang-42-103007-gallery-history/
Halifax NA612 Memorial, North Yorkshire
A memorial was unveiled on the 12th May adjacent to St Peter's Church in Helperby-Brafferton, North Yorkshire, in memory of the crew of Handley Page Halifax NA612 of No.1662 Heavy Conversion Unit which was shot down by a Luftwaffe intruder during the night of the 3rd/4th March 1945.
More information on the Northern Echo site.
Inchnadamph Memorial - Anson N9857
The CWGC have with the help of a Chinook helicopter of No.18 Sqn begun moving material to the crash site of Avro Anson N9857 on Ben More Assynt to replace the cairn presently positioned over the graves of the crew.
The aircraft from No.19 Operational Training Unit crashed on the mountain on the 13th April 1941 with the loss of all six airmen onboard. When the wreck was eventually found the six were buried on site and a stone cairn built over their last resting place, this was rebuilt on at least one occasion by MoD personnel. Last year it was decided by the CWGC (see News item May 2012) that the cairn should be replaced with a much more permanent granite memorial.
The airmen who died in the crash were:
Flying Officer James Henry Steyn DFC, Age 23
Pilot Officer William Edward Drew, Age 28
Sergeant Charles McPherson Mitchell, Age 31
Flight Sergeant Thomas Brendon Kenny, Age 20
Sergeant Harold Arthur Thompsett, Age 20
Sergeant Jack Emery, Age 20
Memorial unveiled in Kent
A memorial has been placed close to the crash site of a Hawker Hurricane at Shadoxhurst near Ashford in memory of its pilot, Sergeant Robert Fraser of Glasgow. Further information can be found on the BBC News site and Battle of Britain Memorial site.
Memorial at Kildale, North Yorkshire Moors
On the 11th January 2013 a memorial was dedicated beside a minor road on Kildale Moor close to the crash site of Lockheed Hudson Mk.I N7298 of No.224 Squadron which crashed on the moor on the 11th January 1941. Photographs and further links were posted on the AiX forum by Research Member David Thompson.
Memorial at Laxton, Nottinghamshire
On the 6th January two memorials were dedicated at Laxton in Nottinghamshire to honour the Canadian crew of Vickers Wellington Mk.X LP841 of No.82 OTU which crashed close to the village on the 5th January 1945. The aircraft had taken off from nearby RAF Ossington for a night exercise but after only two minutes stalled, lost height, struck high tension electricty cables and crashed in a field barely 1 mile north west of the airfield.
The Ministry of Defence website has recently been moved across to a new website under a general gov.uk umbrella. The SPVA section within the old MoD site has now been moved to a new section within Pensions and compensation for veterans. Also the previously available Military Aircraft Accident Summaries have been moved, though not into the new MoD section of the gov website but instead to the National Archives web archive. Board of Inquiry reports which had previously featured have also been moved to the NA web archive. It would seem from this move that no further examples from earlier time periods will be appearing.
During the autumn the Ministry of Defence carried out a limited consultation into the transfer of casualty files to the National Archives, the results of this consultation are available here.
During the month the crew of an RAF Consolidated Liberator B. Mk.VI were laid to rest in the CWGC plot at Kuala Lumpur (Cheras Road) Civil Cemetery. The wreck of their aircraft, which had been known about since the late 1940s, was positively identified during 2006 by members of the Malaya Historical Group as KL654 of No.356 Sqn after which human remains were recovered from the site. News of the burial was reported widely by the media as well by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Royal Air Force.
On the 1st October it was reported by The Telegraph that the remains of a Lancaster have been discovered in northern France, they were excavated at the end of September. The aircraft has been unofficially identified as ND739, which crashed supporting D-Day operations on the 6th June 1944, from personal effects discovered at the site, the crew of ND739 are all recorded as missing and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Excavation work in Laumersheim, Germany, has lead to the recovery of the remains of Avro Lancaster Mk.III ED427 and at least one of its crew members. The aircraft, from No.49 Squadron at RAF Fiskerton in Lincolnshire was lost on the night of the 16th / 17th April 1943 while on a sortie against the Czech town of Pilsen. The discovery was reported by various media organisations including The Telegraph, Daily Mail and Stars & Stripes.
During early September a memorial was placed on a rebuilt cairn at Oxen Craig, Bennachie, Aberdeenshire, close to the crash sites of Gloster Meteor F. Mk.8 WA882 and Westland Wallace Mk.I K6028, Northern Echo news article.
A memorial was dedicated in Cwmafan near Port Talbot on the 12th June at or close to the crash site Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV L9172 of No.17 Operational Training Unit, the service being reported by BBC Wales. The aircraft was on a training flight from RAF Upwood when it broke up in mid-air over the town.
A new memorial is being planned by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to the crew of Anson N9857, which crashed on Ben More Assynt, near Inchnadapmh, in the Scottish Highlands. The story was also announced by the BBC.
The fragile remains of a First World War aircraft have been found on the Island of Thasos, North Greece. They were initially identified as Nieuport 11 serial 3983, which was flown by Canadian F/Lt Warner Hutchins Peberdy who failed to return from a reconnaissance mission to Eastern Macedonia on 14 January 1917 and was posted missing. However subsequent examination of the wreckage suggests that it may belong to a Sopworth built aircraft and is not 3983. Athens News story.
A Curtiss P-40 has been discovered in the Egyptian Sahara. Youtube video. Photographs. More photographs. This is now confirmed to be ET574 of 260 Squadron, in which F/Sgt Dennis Copping went missing from a ferry flight after setting the wrong course on 28 June 1942. Daily Mail article. Hopefully, it will be recovered for the RAF Museum.
The remains of the crew of Dakota KN630 have been recovered and buried. The story is on the RAF website.
English Heritage have announced a review of their "Military Aircraft Crash Sites: Archaeological guidance on their significance and future management" document, the review includes a public consulation, details being give on the EH website . The closing date for submissions is 6th February 2012, with the next edition of this document being produced during 2012.
Boston BZ590, which went missing in 1945, has been found and recovered near the town of Ferrara, in Italy.
Memorial unveiled on 12th June 2011 at Mayfield parish churchyard, Staffs., in memory of the crew of Wellington Mk.X LP397 of No.28 OTU who died close by on the 13th June 1944
Spitfire X4560 was recovered by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum from Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens in July.
Mustang Mk.IV KH838 recovered by the Lancashire Aircraft Investigation Team from a garden near Wigan
P-51K 44-11632 recovered by the Marches Aviation Society and the Warplane Wreck Investigation Group near Nantwich
The wreck of a Vickers Warwick has recently been found in Scapa Flow.
The remains of Blenheim Z7646 were recovered by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum in 2009.
Marches Aviation Society has recovered the substantial remains of Spitfire PT766 in Wales.
The Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group has recovered the wreckage of Halifax EB185 at Faldingworth.
A Hampden undercarriage leg was retrieved by fishermen at Skegness.
Tidal action uncovered the wreckage of a Mosquito in the Wash in 2004. NS998 had been missing since 1945. The harbour master contacted BAAC and two of our groups in the area worked with the Ministry of Defence to investigate further. The MoD was able to recover the remains of the crew and a local museum will now put on a commemorative display of items from the aircraft. For further details, see the BBC website.
Magazines which are still available, for further information on each see their entry in Aviation Archaeologist
Series No.3 Issue No.19
Series No.3 Issue No.18
Series No.3 Issue No.17
Series No.3 Issue No.16
Series No.3 Issue No.15
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Series No.3 Issue No.2
Series No.3 Issue No.1
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Series No.2 Issue No.34