Shropshire Routes to Roots
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2a. Aircraft crashes: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley crashes above Pen-y-gwely Reservoir
At 2220hrs on Saturday, 21 November 1944, Whitley EB410 was on its final approach to Sleap. It was crewed by F/Sgt. T. Carmody (pilot), F/O Hunt (bomb aimer), Sgt. Fender (navigator), Sgt. H. Marland (W 10), and Sgt. Hayden (A 1 G). They had taken off at 1800hrs on a curtailed NAVEX that would take them east to Waltham (Grimsby), north to Brunton (Northumberland) and then home, three hours scheduled flying time. They were now well behind schedule, indicative of being lost. As the weather had closed in they had flown most of the exercise blind and by dead reckoning, with only the occasional radio fix. Navigational uncertainties would compound errors with each change of course. Neither Merseyside nor Sealand should have figured on their homeward course, nor, for that matter, the 1,500ft moorland ridge above Pen-y-gwely Reservoir, five miles north-west of Oswestry but actually in Glyntraean parish, Denbighshire. This the Whitley may have cleared but for the windbreak of trees near Llechrydau farmhouse. They ripped off the starboard wing and EB410 crashed onto its nose and turned over, trapping the pilot under the wreckage, catapulting F 1 0 Hunt some 30-40ft. but gently dropping a dazed rear gunner on to the ground, uninjured except for a few scratches. Aviation fuel was spilt everywhere.
Farm bailiff Tom Roberts and his men were soon on the scene, quickly exchanging their hurricane lamps for electric torches! They managed to extricate the rest of the crew, but Sgt. Fender had already succumbed to his injuries. The Whitley had brought down the telephone line - and so Tom began his nightmare ride into Oswestry to summon the Fire Brigade and ambulance. The four injured airmen were taken to the Orthopaedic Hospital, Gobowen and later to the RAF Hospital, Cosford.
Source: Pratt, Derrick & Grant, Mike (2002) Wings across the Border Vol 2. Bridge Books, Wrexham pp 81- 83
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