BP P.82 Defiant N1731

Bleak Law, Gifford, E Lothian












Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A Mk 1 Boulton Paul Defiant fighter in action.


Boulton Paul Defiant Mark 1 in action


Photo: [pre 1940]. UK Government photograph / public domain.






Aircraft Type and Background


RCAF Boulton Paul P.82 Defiant / N1731



Type Nickname: "Daffy"



Boulton Paul was a well known aircraft builder of the period. In the 1920s and early 1930s, this company had participated in the building of the R101 airship. (The subsequent enquiry into the loss of the R101 concluded that the airship had been well constructed, and that the loss was not due to any failure of the airframe.)


The Boulton Paul Defiant was equipped with a single engine, and was armed with four machine guns, fitted in a hydraulically-powered dorsal turret. However, the Defiant had no forward-facing guns.


The aircraft was powered by a single Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled V12 engine. It had a maximum speed of 504 km/h (313mph), and carried a crew of two (pilot and air-gunner).


Although the first prototype flew in 11 August 1937, the Boulton Paul Defiant was not delivered to the RAF until December 1939.


Initially, over Dunkirk, the Defiant proved an effective fighter. Ultimately however, and due to poor manoeuvrability and the lack of forward-facing guns, it proved no match for the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Consequently, they were withdrawn from front-line operations. However, the Defiants became very effective in their new role as night-fighters. 






Aircraft Accident Details


Accident details are sparse. However, from the information available, it seems that a number of Defiants had recently been delivered to 410 Squadron RCAF. The squadron had been engaging in night training flights in the vicinity of RAF Drem (E. Lothian).

During one such flight, Defiant N1731 crashed into a hillside close to Bleak Law, near the village of Gifford in E. Lothian. Both crew members were killed.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The two airmen who  died in this accident were:


  • Denis Winton Hall (21) / pilot / RAFVR. Sgt. Hall was attached to 410 (RCAF) Sqdn.
    (Laid to rest, Section E, Grave 1003, Dirleton Cemetery, East Lothian.)


  • Denis George Cresswell (23) / Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner) / RAFVR. Fl/Sgt. Cresswell was also attached to 410 (RCAF) Sqdn.
    (Cremated at Nottingham Crematorium. Reference Panel 2.).




(Please click on the hyperlinked names above for further details at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.)





BELOW: Sgt Denis Winton Hall (21), Pilot, RAFVR. More details and photos on PAGE 2.


denis winton hall.


Photo: (©) 2014 Geoff Winton






Crash Site Photo


BELOW: Bleak Law where Boulton Paul Defiant N1731 crashed.


bleak law where the defiant crashed.


Photo: (©) 2014 Geoff Winton







(Denis Winton Hall: Photos,Memorial and Related Documents)



















Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 30 Aug 1941


Accident Site:

Bleak Law (445m)


Region: East Lothian


Nearest town or village:

Longyester or Gifford


Nearest large town:

Haddington (N)


OS Grid Ref. 67 / 60-66


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Undetermined.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: N1731


Operator: RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force)


Operating Base: RAF Drem (Gullane / West Fenton); RCAF 410 Squadron.

(At this time, 410 Squadron's Operating Base alternated fortnightly with RAF Ouston (X5OU).)


Base Location: Drem, N. Berwick, E. Lothian, Scotland, alternating with Ouston, nr. Newcastle upon Tyne, England.


Current Airport Status: (RAF Drem) Closed 1946. See also nearby support airfield at East Fortune; now, National Museum of Flight.


Current Airport Status: (RAF Ouston): Operational Military Depot. Army assumed control in 1974 and renamed the site Albemarle Barracks. Was used as Cruise missile store and ordnance depot.






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