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Stirling on Mickle Fell

Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jonshell
Time Stamp:
18:18:02 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Hi its me again! This time i'm asking on behalf of a friend who was amazed at the response i'd just had to my previous post (57 Sqn Lanc). Whilst in the Air Cadets during the 1970s his Sqn was taken to see the wreck of a Stirling bomber up on top of Mickle Fell in the Cumbrian Pennines. He would love to know which aircraft it was, squadron and any other details. Can anyone help?

Thanks , Jon


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
18:23:43 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Hi John,

The aircraft in question was:

Stirling Mk III LK488 (QQ-E) of 1651HCU, crashed 19/10/1944 into high ground at Mickle Fell during a navex from Wratting Common.

The crew were:

Flt Sgt P.W. Young (pilot) - killed

Sgt B.G. Davis (engineer) - killed

Flt Sgt N.C. Burgess (nav) - killed

Flt Sgt R.P. Furey (w/op) - killed

Flt Sgt J.M. Stack (b/a) - killed

Sgt G. Child (u/gunner) - killed

Sgt A. Small (r/gunner) - seriously injured

All except Davis were New Zealanders.

Hope this help.

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
18:31:54 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Forgot to mention that nearly all of the wreckage was recovered in the 1970's and suspect your ATC friend was involved in this with the RAF.

There are numerous remours floating around regarding the fate of these parts, some say they were scrapped whilst others say they are in storage somewhere.

I visited the site a couple of years back and was quite impressed with the amount of remaining wreckage.

The aircraft appears to have been flying south to north and struck a rock outcrop known as the Boot of Mickle Fell, the aircraft then dived over the hill and crashed on the northern side.

You maybe interested in our website:

www.acia.co.uk

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jonshell
Time Stamp:
18:46:39 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Bleeding heck Jim! That has got to be the fastest reply ever!! My mate reckons he was there in the early 70s and the tail turret was still there (I see the gunner survived). He also reckons the majority of the bomb bay and some fuselage was OK. There was an engine present and large parts of the wings too. In fact he still has some .303 ammunition he picked up at the time (spent or partly exploded he hastens to add). He mentioned something about the authorities digging a big hole and dumping the wreck inside but that some parts were taken away apparently for display somewhere.

Thanks again for the info......i'm off to visit your site now.

Jon


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jonshell
Time Stamp:
18:52:48 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Oh yes, my mate also said the bomber was upside down. Hence the bomb bay being virtually intact. It probably also explains the crew casualties including the upper gunner. The tail fin probably saved the rear gunner.

Jon


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: errol.martyn@xtra.co.nz (Guest)
Time Stamp:
22:58:28 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Jon,

The following is an excerpt from Volume Two (Fates: 1943-1998) of my trilogy ‘For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915’:

Wed 18/Thu 19 Oct 1944

BOMBER COMMAND

Low-level cross country exercise

1651 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF (Wratting Common, Cambridgeshire - 3 Group)

Stirling III LK488 - veered 35 miles west of track and while crossing the Pennines in poor visibility at 0315 flew into the summit of Mickle Fell, some 7 ENE miles of Appleby-in-Westmoreland, where it disintegrated and burned out. Six of the seven crew died, the RNZAF airmen being buried at Harrogate, Yorkshire. The sole survivor was RNZAF air gunner Wt Off A G Small.

Captain: NZ425313 Flt Sgt Peter Dawbarn YOUNG, RNZAF - Age 22. 532hrs (16 solo on Stirling)

Navigator: NZ4212641 Flt Sgt Neil Conway BURGESS, RNZAF - Age 21. 248hrs.

Air bomber: NZ4213651 Flt Sgt John Matthew STACK, RNZAF - Age 27. 243hrs.

Wireless Op: NZ428189 Flt Sgt Rex Patrick FUREY, RNZAF - Age 21. 194hrs.

Air Gunner: NZ425233 Flt Sgt George CHILD, RNZAF - Age 31. 231hrs.

The CWGC register incorrectly records Child’s rank as that of sergeant.

Errol


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jonshell
Time Stamp:
23:58:04 Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Post:
Thanks Errol.

I'll pass all the info over to my mate. I'm sure he'll be chuffed to bits. Its one of those things that he has wondered about all these years and now at last he will know the answers.

Cheers Jon


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Greg
Time Stamp:
07:05:37 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi Guys,

I seem to remember an article in "FlyPast" some years ago, stating that some of the wreckage (including a substantially intact tail section?)had gone to the RAF Museum at Hendon, and that they had subsequently scrapped it. Can anyone (perhaps Smudger Smith, who i know is a gen man on Stirlings) confirm or deny this?

L/O

Greg

"You can take the boy out of Wales,

But you can't take Wales out of the boy..."


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
07:28:51 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi all,

Greg:

I've seen a photo of the complete fin still with black paint somewhere. I have also seen photos of the fuselage centre section and rear fuselage sections.

A large section of wing is still present at the site as are remains of a wheel and undercarriage. All of these are on the northern side of the Fell whilst to the south at The Boot of Mickle Fell can be found a scattering of pieces of various sizes.

Jon:

Does your friend have any photos taken at the time he was there?

Errol:

Do you have W/O Small's fullname, age and service number?

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: errol.martyn@xtra.co.nz (Guest)
Time Stamp:
09:50:35 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Jim,

Some details still lacking for Small.

Thus far can tell you his first name was Alan.

Service No. NZ44767 - had transferred from RAF or RAFVR on 1 Jun 44.

He was a New Zealander from Takaka.

Errol


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
12:20:36 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Thanks for that info Errol!

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: AndyW
Time Stamp:
10:28:49 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi there. AndyW here.I'm the guy who asked Jon to ask the question about the Stirling.We went up to it over 30 years ago as an excuse to not be in school one day at the end of term.My A.T.C Squadron 2192 Appleby Grammar School knew of the crash site from local knowledge and it was a 4-5 hour walk to the site from a nearby village.As Jon has already said,the wreckage was scattered quiet widely.I recall reading stenciled instructions on the wing about using 100% octane fuel only and as others have said there was quiet abit of other wreckage still identifiable.I recall seeing the wheel unit and rear turret.Unfortunately i didn't have a camera at the time though i think one of the lads did.I am in contact with one of them so i will try and find out who,if anybody,has the photos.The remnants of the fuselage were upside down.The largest part was part of the bombay as the racks were visible.I removed a panel from the site about 2ft 6 long and 1 ft wide which i kept for many but it sadly is no longer in my possession.I do have some .303 exploded cases


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
11:15:32 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi Alan,

I suspect, from the evidence available to me when I visited the site, that the aircraft lost a wing on clipping the Boot of Mickle Fell as one undercarriage leg was found on top of the ridge whilst the other is down on the northern side of the hill.

This may well explain why it ended upside down on final impact.

Jim

PS: Have you visited any other wrecks in the Appleby area?


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: AndyW (Guest)
Time Stamp:
11:58:43 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi Jim.I haven't visited any but i know there are others around the area.A chap in the village i used to live in showed me some parts of a(i think)Buccaneer that he had recovered but i'm not sure where from.He still lives there and i still have a house in the village so i will ask him about it when i go up again in a couple of weeks.I wouldn't mind re-visiting the Stirling site again sometime,does anyone know the quickest route to it?We left from a village called Dufton,where i lived and headed east towards it coming back down from Mickle Fell into Murton.Is this the easiest way or can someone point out a better route?

The area is a great place to watch low flying by the RAF and is not far from where the 2 Tornados collided in 1988,though i hasten to add this is not a ghoul factor in it!


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: JIm Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
12:17:40 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi Andy,

I approached from Wemmergill House near Middleton-in-Teesdale but I was also visiting the remains of a Blenheim at the time.

There is an old mining track south of Mickle Fell which can be cycled up for quite a way and then you can walk the rest.

I would be interested to find out the locations of some of the other wrecks in the area.

I know of the following:

DH60 Moth - Cross Fell (found)

Anson - Cross Fell

Hudson - Cross Fell (found)

Halifax - Great Dun Fell (found)

Spitfire - Great Dun Fell

Wellington - Dufton Fell

Anson - N of Cross Fell

Hurricane - Dufton Fell

Meteor - Dufton Fell (found)

Blenheim - Staple Moss (found)

Tornado - Bowes Moor

Master - Beldoo Moss

Tomahawk - Red Gill Moss (found)

Tiger Moth - Great Knipe

There are others on low ground too.

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: AndyW (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:34:12 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Hi Jim>Where is the Halifax?Iknow my mate Jon would be interested in that as well as myself.


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:36:27 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Alan,

Contact me off board, my email address can be found in the Contacts section of our website:

www.acia.co.uk

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: Jim Corbett (Guest)
Time Stamp:
13:39:56 Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Post:
Incidentally, the Tomahawk and Hudson are on our website.

Jim


RE: Stirling on Mickle Fell
Author: KeithBryers
Time Stamp:
22:31:01 Sunday, July 25, 2004
Post:
I think I can throw some light on the sad but not atypical fate of the Stirling parts. An ex-RAF wreck hunter contact told me last year that the wreckage was taken to Henlow. However in a hangar clearout (date unknown) prior to an AOC's inspection the parts were consigned to the dump at Baldock (sp?). Along with them, my contact said were also parts of a Battle. Later examination found the parts to be unusable.

Keith