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Report - - Plane Wrecks on Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, Devon and Cornwall – Winter 2018/9 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Plane Wrecks on Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, Devon and Cornwall – Winter 2018/9


Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
This report is on nine military plane crash sites in the south-west, seven on Dartmoor and two on Bodmin Moor. It is not quite exhaustive, as I never got to the wreck of an US Navy PB4Y on Steepleton Tor, Dartmoor, as it is within the military training zone. There are also the remains of two German fighters on Lundy Island, but the ferry service to Lundy doesn’t run during the winter. If I ever get to these remaining three sites, I will add on to this report for a complete record.

Done on a visit in October 2018 and again in January 2019

CONSOLIDATED VULTEE LIBERATOR PB4Y-1 63926, SLIPPER STONES, DARTMOOR
On the 28th December 1943 in order to locate a group of enemy destroyers in the Bay of Biscay, USN Fleet Air Wing 7, based at Dunkeswell in Devon, launched 15 PB4Y-1 Liberators. Whilst on patrol, PB4Y-1 B-5 engaged with two enemy aircraft. On finishing the patrol, the PB4Y-1 returned individually and on reaching the south-west coast of England, descended into cloud and having turned an easterly track, struck the hilltop and then dropped onto rocky ground below where it disintegrated and burned out. Ten crew members were killed. Quite large pieces of burnt airframe and sections of armour plating can be found. It appears that the wreckage was partially buried by the salvage team in a series of pits just outside the Okehampton Range Danger Area.

Consolidated PB4Y-1, used by the US Navy for maritime patrols. It is a variant of the Army’s B-24


The lowest burial pit


Seen in the first pit


Higher up the slope is the second burial pit, marked by a plaque




14-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engine, one of four that the plane had


Higher up the slope was the third burial pit

And a fourth burial pit near to the top of the slope


A sheet of armour plating


Paint still remains


CONSOLIDATED B-24D LIBERATOR 42-40474 , HAMBLE DOWN, DARTMOOR
Airbourne from Alconbury Air Station in Cambridgeshire on the 27th December 1943, the aircraft was on the third leg of a cross-country training flight. This part of the route was intended to take the aircraft from over Taunton to Bude Bay, but the plane deviated south and was 20 miles off the planned route when it flew into cloud covered hill and burned out. All 8 crew members were killed. A grassy patch on the heather covered slope contains a few pieces of melted aluminium.

Consolidated B-24D Liberator, used by the US Army as a heavy bomber. Approximately 18500 were built


An area of scarred land lies amongst the heather


Lumps of melted aluminium


Bolts and nuts


BOEING B17-G FLYING FORTRESS 42-37869, TIGERS MARSH, CORN RIDGE, DARTMOOR
On the 25th December 1943 and following a meteorological reconnaissance sortie, this USAAF aircraft landed at RAF St. Eval in Cornwall and later departed to return to its base at Cheddington Air Station in Hertfordshire. Flying on a north-easterly track the pilot attempted to maintain visual contact with the ground, but having cleared a lower hill on the edge of Dartmoor, the aircraft entered cloud hanging over the valley beyond. A climb, with reference to instruments, was commenced but the rate of climb was too low and the aircraft struck the hill, bounced up the gentle slope and then caught fire as the fuel tanks ruptured. Five crew members perished. A large scar remains on the boggy hilltop and contains a few pieces of armour plating and lumps of melted aluminium.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, heavy bomber in use from 1938 to 1968


A large boggy scar marks the site


Melted aluminium


Memorial plaque


Detail of the boggy ground


The only recognisable piece


DE HAVILLAND SEA VIXEN F.A.W. Mk.I XN648 / 716-VL, FLAT TOR, DARTMOOR
During a training flight on the 31st May 1961, from Yeovilton in Somerset, the aircraft entered a spin and was unable to regain control. The crew ejected and survived, leaving the aircraft to dive into the ground creating a sizeable crater. The water-filled crater hides the bulk of the aircraft’s remains. However a few metres out from the northern side of the crater small fragments of wreckage can be seen.

The sea Vixen was a carrier-based fleet air-defence fighter flown by the Royal Navy during the 1950s through to the 1970s. Only 145 of these were built


A large impact crater


Small pieces of wreckage on the shore


And pieces seen in the water
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
HANDLEY PAGE HALIFAX Mk.I X3054 / EA-S, HAMBLE DOWN, DARTMOOR
On the 21st March 1941, this aircraft of No.49 Sqn RAF descended below cloud at night and flew into hillside. The aircraft was returning to base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire following a bombing raid on Lorient in France. Three crew members were killed and fourth later died of his injuries. The mother of the pilot arranged for a large inscribed stone to be erected close to the site. In 1991 the stone was cleaned and a plaque attached. The aircraft struck the hillside approximately 50m SSE of the standing stone but no wreckage is visible.

The Halifax, a 4-engined heavy bomber used by the RAF


A memorial stone marks the site


This plaque was erected in 1991


DOUGLAS C-47A SKYTRAIN 42-100640, HUNTINGDON WARREN, DARTMOOR
Inbound from Villacoubley in France on the 13th October 1945, the aircraft arrived over Exeter at 4000ft but was unable to land as planned due to the weather conditions. While holding over the airfield, the pilot asked if an alternative airfield was available and was recommended RAF Western Zoyland in Somerset. The pilot asked for a QDM (magnetic bearing to a station) but was passed the reciprocal of the required QDM. As a result the aircraft turned on to a south-westerly track, and whilst flying in cloud at an altitude that allowed minimal clearance over terrain on the intended route, hit hillside and disintegrated. 7 crew members were killed. On impact, the aircraft struck the north-east corner of a stone-wall enclosure, with the broken remains of the wings and fuselage then coming to rest on the slope close to the south-west corner of the enclosure. To date, the section of stone wall demolished on impact has not been rebuilt. No wreckage could be seen.

The C47 Skytrain, also known as the Dakota, was a military transport plane developed from the civilian DC-3 airliner


The crash site is the upper square pen seen on the right


About 20m of the drystone wall has been demolished


No wreckage could be seen in the rubble of the wall


DOUGLAS C-47A SKYTRAIN 43-30733, BROWN WILLY, BODMIN MOOR
On the 23rd December 1943 this USAAF aircraft was flying from RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall to Grove Air Station in Oxford. After take-off, the plane belonging to 310th Ferry Squadron, 27th ATG, failed to climb to a suitable altitude and flew into the cloud covered summit of the tor on an easterly tack. All four crew members were killed. A scar containing a few pieces of wreckage remains, where the aircraft burned out by a rock outcrop.

Brown Willy is the highest hill on Bodmin Moor


The crash site is an isolated rocky outcrop near to the summit


A plaque marks the site


The cleft in the rock caused by the impact


A lump of melted aluminium


VICKERS WELLINGTON B. Mk.X LN775, THREE BARROWS, DARTMOOR
After leaving the Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit at RAF Hurn in Dorset for transfer to Mediterranean Air Command on the 1st March 1944, the aircraft drifted 25 miles off the briefed route to Rabat Sale in Morocco. Flying in cloud on a westerly track, the aircraft struck the side of the hill and burned out. Four crew members were killed. It was three days after the crash before the remains of the aircraft were located. At the crash site, within site of the central barrow of Three Barrows, can be found a scar containing a few small pieces of melted aluminium and heat discharged 0.303 in. cartridge cases.

The Vickers Wellington was a twin-engined long-range medium bomber, the RAF’s principal night bomber in the early years of the war, superseded later by the heavier Avro Lancaster


The site is within sight of the summit barrow


Little wreckage remains

Electrical components?


Heat-discharged 0.303in cartridges




DOUGLAS C-54A SKYMASTER 42-72249, SHARPTOR, BODMIN MOOR
Inbound from Lagers in the Azores to RAF St. Mawgan in Cornwall, on a transport flight on the 18th October 1944, the aircraft crossed the coast and was authorised to descend to 3000ft and position for an approach. After overflying the airfield in cloud the aircraft flew out to the east and attempted to acquire the approach beam. However, the liaison radio equipment onboard was being adversely effected by the weather conditions and the radio compass was inoperative, making acquisition of the beam difficult. After receiving a QDM to RAF Exeter the aircraft turned to the north to intercept the beam. At this point the navigator and check pilot realised a barometric pressure setting received previously, and selected on the altimeters, was incorrect and the aircraft was too low. Before they were able to inform the pilot, the aircraft flew into a downdraught and as the pilot tried to recover airspeed the aircraft hit the ground, skidded across the hilltop and then caught fire. All nine aircrew survived. No.67 MU salvaged the burnt-out remains of the aircraft using a tractor and sledge and now only a boggy scar containing a few tiny fragments of wreckage can be seen at the site.

The Skymaster is a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army in WW2 and the Korean War. It is derived from the civilian DC-4 airliner


A large scar marks the site




A small pile of wreckage can be seen




Thanks for reading
 

anubis

28" Member
Regular User
Interesting. I remember years ago going up on top of Winter Hill, near Horwich, Bolton and am fairly sure someone told me at the time of some wreckages up there too.
Maybe gone now no idea.
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Fascinating stuff. Makes me realise just how much there is left of the Superfortress "Over-exposed" above Glossop...
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
@anubis There's hundreds of plane wrecks up north in the Peak District/Pennines and Yorkshire Dales. The website Peak District Air Crashes documents over 500. The one you are referring to is probably Oxford BM837 which crashed in December 1943 or Bristol Freighter G-AICS which crashed in 1958. They both crashed on Winter Hill. It would seem very little is left of these two and also here
 

myke

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice report kept me occupied for a while sifting through the photos. I was quite surprised there is so much left even in bleak conditions I expected nature to take over.
 

WØLF

28DL Member
28DL Member
nice work!
Last year I missioned it up into the hills of Strachur in Argyll to locate the wreckage of a B-29 superfortress, it's surprising how much of the wreckage is still there. I got some pics saved somewhere if your ever interested.
 

Urbex2p

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
HANDLEY PAGE HALIFAX Mk.I X3054 / EA-S, HAMBLE DOWN, DARTMOOR
On the 21st March 1941, this aircraft of No.49 Sqn RAF descended below cloud at night and flew into hillside. The aircraft was returning to base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire following a bombing raid on Lorient in France. Three crew members were killed and fourth later died of his injuries. The mother of the pilot arranged for a large inscribed stone to be erected close to the site. In 1991 the stone was cleaned and a plaque attached. The aircraft struck the hillside approximately 50m SSE of the standing stone but no wreckage is visible.

The Halifax, a 4-engined heavy bomber used by the RAF


A memorial stone marks the site


This plaque was erected in 1991


DOUGLAS C-47A SKYTRAIN 42-100640, HUNTINGDON WARREN, DARTMOOR
Inbound from Villacoubley in France on the 13th October 1945, the aircraft arrived over Exeter at 4000ft but was unable to land as planned due to the weather conditions. While holding over the airfield, the pilot asked if an alternative airfield was available and was recommended RAF Western Zoyland in Somerset. The pilot asked for a QDM (magnetic bearing to a station) but was passed the reciprocal of the required QDM. As a result the aircraft turned on to a south-westerly track, and whilst flying in cloud at an altitude that allowed minimal clearance over terrain on the intended route, hit hillside and disintegrated. 7 crew members were killed. On impact, the aircraft struck the north-east corner of a stone-wall enclosure, with the broken remains of the wings and fuselage then coming to rest on the slope close to the south-west corner of the enclosure. To date, the section of stone wall demolished on impact has not been rebuilt. No wreckage could be seen.

The C47 Skytrain, also known as the Dakota, was a military transport plane developed from the civilian DC-3 airliner


The crash site is the upper square pen seen on the right


About 20m of the drystone wall has been demolished


No wreckage could be seen in the rubble of the wall


DOUGLAS C-47A SKYTRAIN 43-30733, BROWN WILLY, BODMIN MOOR
On the 23rd December 1943 this USAAF aircraft was flying from RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall to Grove Air Station in Oxford. After take-off, the plane belonging to 310th Ferry Squadron, 27th ATG, failed to climb to a suitable altitude and flew into the cloud covered summit of the tor on an easterly tack. All four crew members were killed. A scar containing a few pieces of wreckage remains, where the aircraft burned out by a rock outcrop.

Brown Willy is the highest hill on Bodmin Moor


The crash site is an isolated rocky outcrop near to the summit


A plaque marks the site


The cleft in the rock caused by the impact


A lump of melted aluminium


VICKERS WELLINGTON B. Mk.X LN775, THREE BARROWS, DARTMOOR
After leaving the Overseas Aircraft Dispatch Unit at RAF Hurn in Dorset for transfer to Mediterranean Air Command on the 1st March 1944, the aircraft drifted 25 miles off the briefed route to Rabat Sale in Morocco. Flying in cloud on a westerly track, the aircraft struck the side of the hill and burned out. Four crew members were killed. It was three days after the crash before the remains of the aircraft were located. At the crash site, within site of the central barrow of Three Barrows, can be found a scar containing a few small pieces of melted aluminium and heat discharged 0.303 in. cartridge cases.

The Vickers Wellington was a twin-engined long-range medium bomber, the RAF’s principal night bomber in the early years of the war, superseded later by the heavier Avro Lancaster


The site is within sight of the summit barrow


Little wreckage remains

Electrical components?


Heat-discharged 0.303in cartridges




DOUGLAS C-54A SKYMASTER 42-72249, SHARPTOR, BODMIN MOOR
Inbound from Lagers in the Azores to RAF St. Mawgan in Cornwall, on a transport flight on the 18th October 1944, the aircraft crossed the coast and was authorised to descend to 3000ft and position for an approach. After overflying the airfield in cloud the aircraft flew out to the east and attempted to acquire the approach beam. However, the liaison radio equipment onboard was being adversely effected by the weather conditions and the radio compass was inoperative, making acquisition of the beam difficult. After receiving a QDM to RAF Exeter the aircraft turned to the north to intercept the beam. At this point the navigator and check pilot realised a barometric pressure setting received previously, and selected on the altimeters, was incorrect and the aircraft was too low. Before they were able to inform the pilot, the aircraft flew into a downdraught and as the pilot tried to recover airspeed the aircraft hit the ground, skidded across the hilltop and then caught fire. All nine aircrew survived. No.67 MU salvaged the burnt-out remains of the aircraft using a tractor and sledge and now only a boggy scar containing a few tiny fragments of wreckage can be seen at the site.

The Skymaster is a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army in WW2 and the Korean War. It is derived from the civilian DC-4 airliner


A large scar marks the site




A small pile of wreckage can be seen




Thanks for reading
Bloody good effort that well done you
 

tatyr raker

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I was quite surprised there is so much left even in bleak conditions I expected nature to take over.
Me too, I've spent a lot of time on Dartmoor, and I'm amazed that much remains of some of the planes after the time that has passed.

Reading the stories along with the pictures is really moving, I don't normally think of Dartmoor as a bleak place, but it's an unforgiving place to end your days.
 

Bertie Bollockbrains

There is no pain
Regular User
My bad.. on rechecking my sources, you're right it is it of course Handley Page Hampden X3054 as opposed to Handley Page Halifax X3054 as stated, the Hampden being a twin-engined medium bomber that was retired in late 1942 and superseded by heavier bombers such as the Avro Lancaster.

Thanks for pointing out the error
 

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