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Report - "Overexposed" B-29 Superfortress Crash Site - Derbyshire 30/12/10

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by MADMAX, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. MADMAX

    MADMAX Member
    28DL Full Member

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    It's taken a few weeks to get around to posting this up, but I hope you enjoy this slightly different type of report and pics...

    So where to begin on what was to be a day littered with epic fails and epic wins?!
    A nice and early start saw Links Rover, Iron Monkey, Geedubya and myself set out for a days Urbexing in Sheffield and with no intention of heading further afield to Glossop and the B-29. But after a morning of multiple failures in and around Sheffield, including a couple of games of hide and seek with security and suspected pikies, we headed to Meadowhall for some mucky lunch and a much needed rethink.

    I think in hindsight it was I who put the idea forward at some point some time during the morning to take the extra 40 minute trip to Glossop to try and find the B-29 crash site. Over a dirty KFC we discussed our options and once all other avenues were exhausted, Geedubya (who was driving) made the decision and we were off.

    On the way I did my best to find the location from ramblers guides and online maps with only moderate success, but enough to set us off in the right direction and hope for the best. To be honest we were under prepared to say the least. We'd all packed for a days city based urban exploring and not a full blown hike across the moors 2000ft feet above Derbyshire. Our greatest enemy though at this point was time. We knew that if we didn't find the crash site by 3pm at the very latest, we'd never make it back in daylight.

    So we set off up an icy track, followed by one the steepest hill I've ever climbed. We were all knackered within 30 minutes lol. After about 45 minutes though we ran into some helpful old Ramblers, we soldiered on trying to keep our spirits up. We joked that this could turn out to be a great story of survival and courage if it all went wrong, and even who might play us in the movie version of the best selling book :p

    The going under foot was bad to terrible nearly all the way. Between the peat, snow, Ice, bogs and bracken, the paths were non existent at times and not going arse over tit was a difficult undertaking. Most of us fell at least once and that was while there was still daylight to see. I had cruelly neglected to tell the others that I'd read the following while we travelled there over Snake Pass:

    "This walk is not the longest in the Peak District but is by far one of the hardest due to the pathless and rugged terrain. Navigation skills are vital as are the right equipment. Despite the dark reputation of Bleaklow, it is a unique place that can provide a very different and satisfying days walk, but care and preparations are vital in bad weather."
    AND
    "Most of the plateau is above 2000FT high and at one point near Blealow Stones is actually the furthest point east in England over 2000FT high, a fact I didn't believe until I researched it myself. It is often referred to as most strenuous and toughest walking terrain in Britain. Many hill walkers, even Alfred Wainwright, actually hated the place. You either love it or hate it though and lots of people love it. A huge expanse of boggy peat and outstanding stone formations, the hags and groughs of Bleaklow are impossible to navigate in bad weather. I myself have been lost on Bleaklow and it was one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my life. The area is most certainly somewhere that has to be taken seriously."

    :eek: Anyway, moving on.....

    Time was slipping by and we were getting further and further into the absolute middle of nowhere. We made a decision to head to an outcrop of rocks a few hundred metres away and if we couldn't see the marker of the Trig Point (that the old boys had told us to head for), we would turn back and accept that the whole day was just one massive epic fail.

    Luckily, once we reached there we could see where we needed to go and within another ten minutes we were at the crash site of the Superfortress. Time was short though because it had taken us nearly two hours to get this far. We literally gave ourselves 20 minutes to photograph what we could before having to set off back. This was real shame, because a good hour or so would really be needed to do the place justice and soak up the atmosphere.

    So the long return journey began around 3pm knowing full well that we would only get half way back (if that) before we were left in total darkness on top of the moors. Luckily we all had heatorches and a variety of other lights to aid us our navigation back. Inital progress was very good and we made it passed the ravine that we really wanted to cross before the light totally went, but then we were getting tired and in the dark seeing the path and the firmer ground became increasingly difficult.

    Slowly but surely we made it back to the top of the massive hill we'd had to initally climb at the start of our adventure, so took a 5 minute rest and then headed down the final stretch back to the car. Safely back to normality we got cleaned up, rehydrated and headed for home totally shattered but happy that we'd seen the year out with one hell of an experience.

    HISTORY OF THE CRASH
    The Overexposed tragically crashed at about 11am on 3rd November 1948 while descending through cloud. All 13 crew members died, it is doubtful they ever saw the ground. The time is estimated from one of the crew members wrist watch. The plane, piloted by Captain L P Tanner, was on a short flight, carrying mail and the payroll for American service personnel based at USAF Burtonwood. The flight was from RAF Scampton near Lincoln to Burtonwood near Warrington, a flight of less than a hour. Low cloud hung over much of England and which meant the flight had to be flown on instruments. The crew descended after having flown for the time the crew believed it should have taken them to cross the hill. Unfortunately the aircraft had not quite passed the hills and struck the ground near Higher Shelf Stones and was destroyed by fire.

    There are many cross shapes made from scraps of twisted and broken aircraft parts on the site, with poppies and wreaths. Scattered around are engines, rusting brake drums, wheels and undercarriage struts; elsewhere, a row of poppies have been planted beneath a section of the plane's wing. Time, weather and souvenir hunters have corroded and destroyed the massive pieces of the aircraft, but what is left make a strange and solemn memorial amid the wild bleak beauty of the moors.

    The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II. As one of the most advanced bombers of its time, featuring innovations such as a pressurized cabin, a central fire-control system, and remote-controlled machine gun turrets; it was designed as a high-altitude daytime bomber, but flew more low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing missions. It was used as the primary aircraft in the U.S. firebombing campaign against Japan in the final months of World War II, and B-29s carried the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the test bombs at the Bikini Atoll.


    Like I said earlier, we ended up being very limited for time, but hopefully we all managed to get some interesting photos from this epic and desolate place.

    Looking back down one of the valleys. We were about half way at this point.
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    A much needed Rest
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    The B-29 Superfortress Crash Site
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