Halifax NR126 – Wether Cairn

Handley Page Halifax Mk.III NR126 (PT-X) of 420 Sqn RAF Tholthorpe was diverting to RAF Winfield following an aborted mission to Wesel on 17th February 1945.

The aircraft was heading north and had been heard flying over Biddlestone when the pilot saw high ground ahead. The aircraft was climbing when it struck the side of Wether Cairn and broke up over a large area. Although fully laden with bombs, they did not explode, sadly however only the rear gunner survived. 

The crew, all Canadians, were:

F/O M.B.Stock (KIA)
Sgt B. Crollie (KIA)
F/O R. Trout (KIA)
F/O R. Floripe (KIA)
P/O T. O’Kane (KIA)
F/O D. Neil (KIA)
F/Sgt J. Beasom (injured)

We first visited the crash in 1992 and the main impact point was quickly identified as were several larger panels from the aircraft. Several craters on the top of the moor were also discovered and these turned out to be bomb craters caused when the bombs had blown up in a controlled explosion. A local shepherd informed us that wreckage from the aircraft can be seen in these craters but only in extremely dry weather.

A return trip was made to the site following the dry summer of 2018 but sadly the water was still too deep for us to see any visible wreckage.

The bare patch on the hilltop where the Halifax ended up after first striking the slope in a steep climb about 100 yards further down the hill.

Image 1 of 10