As you will probably have noticed on the blog I have visited several air crash sites in the Pennines over the last year or so and recently began recording what is left of them. Part of my motivation comes from the fact that some of these sites are disappearing due to the actions of collectors - an activity I understand is illegal nowadays without a license.
I have to be honest and say that I have mixed feelings about writing about such sites, which is why I do not provide any location details, but on the other hand I do feel these sites deserve to be recognised as memorials to those who died. This latter point was brought home to me recently when I was contacted by a relative of a crewmember who lost their life in one of these accidents so that they could visit the place themselves.
In April I visited another site, namely that of a Curtiss P40 Tomahawk AH744 that crashed on a remote Teesdale moor on 10th February 1943 while on a training exercise.
There is some conflicting information about the aircraft and the reasons why it was actually in the Teesdale area, but the general consensus regarding the accident itself is that the aircraft hit the ground with one of its wings while trying to turn in cloud and then broke up across the moor.
Despite the fact the aircraft had been spotted earlier in the day by a Royal Observer Corps post based in Barnard Castle, continuing poor weather and low cloud hampered the search and it was not until the 13 February that the crash site was spotted from the air. Once located, a team approached the site on foot, but sadly the 29 year old pilot Flying Officer Henry (Harry) E Wright had not survived the initial impact.
Again I only had a very general location for the crash site, but with clear weather did not have too much trouble in finding it.
Despite the passing of some 70 years and the actions of collectors who have taken the tail fin, wing, engine and propeller as well as other smaller items it looked as if the accident had only recently occurred.
|Wing section. The dark material is the anti-slip material on the walk area|
Text/images copyright David Forster www.bluestoneimages.com.