Thursday, 26 June 2014

Standards Hill - Lunedale

I am afraid the next few posts will be a bit random and not in date order.  Blogger is being a right pain and at times and I simply cannot be bothered battling on getting posts up when it goes slow, won't save or add images, refuses to acknowledge I even have a blog at times, or any number of other issues.  I know others are experiencing issues as well so perhaps it is time to move to a new blog such as wordpress.

Anyway yesterday it was rather overcast in Lunedale, but even so despite the poor light I had a wander (or perhaps more accurately heather bash) up onto Standards Hill, returning via the Closehouse mine track

On the way visited another air crash site, this time of a Blenheim Mk1 aircraft which crashed up here in bad weather on 26th October 1938. 

What is left is slowly being claimed by the moor with the rest well buried in the soft peat.

That said despite the passing of over 80 years you can still see the green paint on the aluminium fuselage
Sadly Pilot John Owen Sowerbutts aged 25, Wireless Operator William Ashbridege aged 21 and Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Horace Redfern aged only 18 all died in the accident.

Moving on I headed to the summit of Standards which is a bit like Nine Standards over in Cumbria, only here most of the cairns seem to have fallen down.  There is also a strange little partially roofed cairn/howf with no entrance on the summit.

Not sure about the history of this hill top but clearly a lot of effort has gone into building cairns over the years.  Most have fallen down though.


Despite the cloud there were good views from the summit towards Mickle Fell. 
Text images copyright David Forster


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Curtiss P40 Tomahawk AH744

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. 
 Impact crater

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
There are thought to be at least two other crash sites within a few miles of this one, a Tiger Moth NM213 in which the pilot was flung out on impact and survived and a Master T8614 in which the Pilot - 2nd Officer Richard Horry Winn was killed, however the actual locations do not appear to be known. 

Text/images copyright David Forster