Air crash memorial on Great Carrs summit

The air crash memorial on the summit of Great Carrs (see below for the full text)

Height: 2575 feet above sea level

Volume: Book 4 (The Southern Fells)

Date climbed: 16th October 2009 (walk 6)

Bagged as number: 22 out of 214. [ << Grey Friar (21)  (23) Wetherlam >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: Approached from Grey Friar, left on the ridge to Swirl How.

Great Carrs, viewed from Swirl How

Great Carrs, viewed from Swirl How

What Mr. Wainwright says (from page 6 of his chapter): “The easily-graded upper western slope of Great Carrs breaks very abruptly into a long eastern precipice, the highest point of the fell therefore being on the rim, and here, on a small outcrop, is the cairn, airily perched in a splendid position high above the great hollow formed by the deep-set Greenburn valley in its circle of peaks…. An unnatural and unwelcome adornment to the top is provided by the wreckage of an aeroplane, 150 yards south of the cairn. It is easy to reconstruct the accident. The aeroplane, travelling from west to east, failed to clear the ridge by a few feet only: at the place of impact the undercarriage was ripped off (and still lies there in a rough grave of stones) but the crippled machine went on over the edge to crash far down the precipice…”

Great Carrs from Pike o'Blisco.

Great Carrs from Pike o’Blisco. Picture taken on walk 64.

What I say: By far the most interesting and distinctive thing about this fell was the remains of this air crash, which is why I quote AW’s words about it. I found it poignant for three reasons: first seeing it there at all, as the Pictorial Guides were written over 50 years ago and as the grave sounded neglected then, I presumed it may have gone altogether by now. But the memorial stone (pictured at top) looks fairly new, and it may even have been that the memorial was organised partly because Wainwright drew attention to it. Second I felt it was a tragic irony that the crash happened during WW2, and yet the 8 men who died did not perish in combat but because of an accident. Finally the fact that six of the dead men were 21 years or under… what a waste.

The full text of the memorial is as follows:

In memory of 8 crew members of Halifax LL505 from No. 1659 HCU Topcliffe who lost their lives on this site on 22nd October 1944

Fg Off J. A. Johnston        RCAFC29783 (27 [years old])

Fg Off E. A. Bell      RCAF J3888 (33)

Flt Off R. N. Whitley      RCAF J38243 (20)

Sgt H. E. Pyche      RCAF R225354 (21)

Sgt W. B. Ferguson      RAFVR 1826294 (19)

Sgt D. F. Till    RCAF 271259 (19)

Sgt G. Riddock     RCAF R259938 (20)

Sgt C. G. Whittingstall      RCAF R198207

R. I. P.

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