Bristol Blenheim Z7356

Braeriach, Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: A Bristol Blenheim Mk I bomber in flight.

 

A Bristol Blenheim Mark I in flight

 

Photo: [pre-1949] Taken by a member of the Canadian armed forces. Now, in the public domain.

 


 

BELOW: A Bristol Bolingbroke (the Canadian-built variant of the Blenheim).

 

Note the longer nose on this variant, compared to the Mk I variant above. This longer nose was a feature of both the Canadian-built Bolingbrokes and the British-built Blenheim Mk IV'sthe latter being the type featured here.

 

A Bristol Bolingbroke - the Canadian-built equivalent of the Blenheim

 

Photo: [pre-1949] Original source unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Bristol 142M Blenheim IV / Z7356

 


 

(Click here for RAF history of this type)

 

 

Ordered and funded initially by Lord Rothermere, the civilian Bristol Type 142 was designed to meet this tycoon's requirements for a private 'executive' aircraft. However, it proved so successful in trials that the Air Ministry requested the use of this aircraft for further evaluation.

 

Lord Rothermere donated his aircraft (named, 'Britain First') to the nation, whereupon the RAF immediately began extensive trials with this type. Ultimately, Lord Rothermere's Type 142 was to become the Bristol Type 142M (Military) and designated the 'Blenheim.'

 

The Bristol Type 142 had first flown in 1935. The Type 142M ('M' for 'Military' version) entered service with the RAF in 1937.

 

By the time war broke out, most of the Mk I Blenheims had been replaced by Mk IV variants (and later the Mk V). The Mks IV and V were essentially the same airframe, but equipped with two Bristol Mercury XV radial engines (or later in the Mk V). The Mk IV also had an extended nose and some other modifications.

 

The bomber was equipped with one 7.7mm / 0.303in Browning machine gun (port wing), and one 7.7mm / 0.303in Vickers machine gun (dorsal turret). It had an internal bomb capacity of 454kg / 1,000lb.

 

Unfortunately, the Blenheim was no match for the fast Luftwaffe fighters. Despite heroic attempts by the RAF to help avert shipping losses in the North Sea, many of these Blenheim bombers were lost in combat. Ultimately, the Mk IV Blenheims were replaced by Douglas Bostons and de Havilland Mosquitoes.

 


 

BELOW: A Bristol Blenheim Mk IV cockpit on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

 

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV cockpit at IWM Duxford

 

Photo: 2005 Mark Murphy. Released by the author to the public domain. (More details at Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

Very little is known about the cause of this crash.

 

This Bristol Blenheim was being flown by 526 Squadron RAF. At the time of the accident, it was returning from RAF Digby (JSSO Digby) in England to its home base close to Inverness. However, it flew into cloud not far from Aviemore and crashed at the southern flank of Sròn na Lairige (Braeriach) in the Cairngorms, just short of its final destination.

 

The remains of the aircraft was destroyed in the resulting fire.

 

 All on board perished in this accident.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties

 

Those who died in this accident were:

 

Air Crew:

 Ground Crew travelling as Passengers:

 

Please click on hyperlinked names above for burial details, etc., provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos    (Page 1-A)

 

BELOW: A wing section from the Bristol Bleinhem that crashed on Braeriach.

 

A wing section from the Bristol Bleinhem that crashed on Braeriach.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: An unidentified hydraulic part.

 

An unidentified hydraulic part.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: One of the Blenheim's two engines.

 

One of the Blenheim's two engines.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 

 

 

More photos from this collection on

 

PAGES   1-B,   1-C,   1-D,   1-E,   1-F,   1-G

 

 

 

Other photos below

 

 


 

 

BELOW: A Sea King helicopter (circled) flying up Lairig Ghru, past the Blenheim wreckage. The red arrow shows the location of the higher Mercury engine.

 

(This photo was taken from the Airspeed Oxford crash site on Braeriach.)

 

Sea King helicopter flying past Blenheim wreckage on Lairig Ghru

 

Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A closer view of the Sea King helicopter (circled) passing the Blenheim wreckage, and of the location of the higher Mercury engine (arrowed).

 

closer view of helicopter and location of mercury engine

 

Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A Bristol Mercury XV 9-cylinder radial engine.

 

a Bristol Mercury XV radial engine

 

Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A close-up view of one of the propeller assemblies

 

This wreckage lies on a very steep slope to the South of the main wreckage on Braeriach. Other wreckage extends down into Lairig Ghru.

 

one of the propellers lying in Lairig Ghru

 

Photo: © 2013 Gary Nelson

 

 

 

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

BELOW: One of the Blenheim's two engines.

 

one of the blenheim's engines

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: A closer view of one of the Bristol Blenheim's Mercury engines.

 

one of the  blenheims bristol mercury radial engines

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: The radial cylinder arrangement on the Blenheim's Mercury engine.

 

mercury engine showing radial cylinder arrangement

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: Aluminium skinning from the Blenheim's airframe.

 

aluminium skinning from the blenheim's airframe

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: Part of a wing and other wreckage from the Bristol Blenheim aircraft.

 

part of wing and other wreckage

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: Fragmented wreckage partly camouflaged by the rocks.

 

fragmented wreckage

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: Apparently, these plates are from the Airspeed Oxford crash on Braeriach, rather than from the Bristol Blenheim.

 

more wreckage sections

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: The two propeller assemblies lying on a steep hillside.

 

(The second assembly is in the mid background, near the top of the photo.)

 

the two propeller assemblies lying on a steep hillside

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: A closer view of the two propeller assemblies from the Bristol Mercury engines.

 

This view shows the steep hillside on which these parts of the wreckage are lying.

 

closer view of the two propeller assemblies

 

Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel

 

 

BELOW: Debris field from the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV (or possibly, Mk V), which crashed at Sròn na Lairige, in the Cairngorms.

 

debris field from bristol blenheim mk 4

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: Eddie and engine cowling:

 

eddie and engine cowling 

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: One of the Bristol Mercury XV's 9-cylinder engines from Blenheim Z7356.

 

one of the Mercury 9 cylinder engines from the Blenheim

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: Another view of a Mercury 9-cylinder radial engine at Sròn na Lairige.

 

(The second engine can be found, together with other wreckage, a few hundred yards SE of Sròn na Lairige, and down a slope at the very top side of the Lairig Ghru. [This, and some other information, kindly provided by Alan Leishman])

 

Another view of a Mercury 9-cylinder radial engine from the Blenheim Mark IV

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: Douglas beside a Mercury XV engine from the Bristol Blenheim.

 

Douglas beside the Mercury engine

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: Bristol Mercury XV engine serial number plate (on casting). (Larger image on Flickr)

 

The plate reads:

 

Mercury XV [the model and type of the manufacturer, Bristol]

 S51076

A182592

 

Bristol Mercury 15 engine serial number plate

 

Photo: ©  2012 Douglas Gordon 

 


 

BELOW: A section of the undercarriage (landing gear) from the Bristol Blenheim.

 

undercarriage section from Blenheim

 

Photo: © 2012 Alan Leishman

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Pages last updated: 4 Mar 2015

 



 

Accident Date: 22 Mar 1945

 

Accident Site:

Braeriach—Sròn na Lairige (1,296m)

(or Braigh Riabhach) (Cairngorms / Forest of Mar)

 

Access Points: By farm track / service track to Loch Einich, then E to Braeriach; or via the Lairig Ghru path, or by funicular railway from Glenmore (Aviemore) to Cairn Gorm, then SW to Sn na Lairige (nr Braeriach).

 

Region: Aberdeenshire (Braemar)

 

Nearest town or village: Kingussie or Aviemore

 

Nearest large town: Grantown-on Spey (via Aviemore) (NE)

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: Much of the wreckage remains near the summit. However, some wreckage can be found  a few hundred yards SE of this location, and down a slope at the very top end of the Lairig Ghru (see below for photos in the vicinity of BraeriachSròn na Lairige).

 


 

Other air crash in this vicinity:

 

Airspeed Oxford HM724 at BraeriachSròn na Lairige

(Not far from the Blenheim crash site, but further downhill).

 

(Note: The caption at the above link refers to Airspeed Oxford PH404 rather than HM724. However, PH404 crashed at Stob an t-Sluichd, in the Cairngorms.)

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

Registration or Serial: Z7356

 

Operator: RAF (526 Squadron; absorbed into 527 Squadron in May 1945. Both were Radar Calibration Squadrons)

 

Operating Station: RAF Inverness / RAF Longman (aerial view)

 

Station Location: Inverness

 

Current Station Status: Closed August 1945. Now, overbuilt with commercial / industrial developments. (Longman Industrial Estate.)

 

 

 

 

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