Douglas C47B G-AMRB

Greenside Hill, Largs, Ayrshire













Aircraft Photo


BELOW: Actual photo of Starways Douglas C-47B G-AMRB taken at Liverpool (Speke) Airport.


This was the same aircraft that crashed near Largs, Ayrshire, while on a positioning flight to the former (Glasgow) Renfrew Airport.


Douglas C47B G-AMRB at Liverpool Speke Airport sometime before the crash


Postcard photo kindly provided by

David J. Smith

(author, High Ground Wrecks and Relics)






Aircraft Type and Background


Starways Douglas C-47B-35-DK Dakota / G-AMRB



Civil Transport (ex Military Transport)


Aircraft Type Nickname: "Dakota"; "Skytrain"; "Gooney Bird", and others.



The Douglas C-47 aircraft was a military version of the Douglas DC-3. the C-47B variant was powered by two R1830-90 engines, equipped with superchargers and extra fuel capacity for extended flying by the military. This particular C-47B, however, had been decommissioned and disposed of for civilian use. At the time of the accident, it was being operated by Starways.


Starways was a British airline, operating from 1948 to 1963, when it was taken over by British Eagle. Its operating base was Liverpool (Speke) airport. Among other types, Starways operated Avro Ansons, Douglas DC-3's, DC-4's and Vickers Viscounts.



BELOW: A C-47B Mk IV in RAF Transport Command livery, now owned and operated by Classic Flights Air Atlantique. RAF code: KK116. Civil registration: G-AMPY.


A C47  of RAF Transport Command


Photo: 2008 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Wikimedia Commons licensing arrangement.






Aircraft Accident Details


It is sometimes reported that the aircraft involved in the accident was a Douglas DC-3. However, according to the accident report, and to Mr Blane Sr.—a former Renfrew aerodrome fireman who attended the crash scene—it was a Douglas C-47B. The C-47 was the military variant of the DC-3; although, by this time, it was in civilian use. The C-47 was known as the 'Dakota', or sometimes, the 'Gooney Bird'.


This aircraft had departed from Liverpool Speke Airport and was on approach to the former Glasgow Renfrew Airport a positioning flight. The aircraft had been chartered to fly to Lourdes the following day.


The C-47B was making an instrument approach to Renfrew aerodrome when it struck Greenside Hill at 1250 ft msl.


According to the accident report, the crash was due to pilot error. The report states that the Captain permitted the aircraft to descend below the approved safe height for approach to Renfrew Airport. As a result, the aircraft hit the ground some miles short of the airport.


Of the three crew members on board, a pilot and air hostess survived. A second pilot, however, was killed in the accident.


The surviving pilot pulled the air hostess out of the wreck, crawled down the hill with a broken back, ribs and other severe injuries to raise the alarm, and then crawled back up to the crash site. When the fire crews arrived, they couldn't run hoses up but could only take hand held extinguishers, which were ineffectual.*


* The information in the last paragraph above was provided by Mr. Blane Sr. (fireman in attendance), and was very kindly passed on to the author of this website by his son.


Being a positioning flight only, no passengers were being carried at the time of the accident.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The airline pilot who died in this accident was:

  • Noel C A Stanley, Wallasey, Cheshire

He was found dead inside the aircraft wreckage at 22.00 hrs on 28th March 1956.



The name of the surviving pilot was Geoffrey Moss, Liverpool.


The name of the surviving air hostess was Hilda Phillips (24), Liverpool.






Crash Site Photos


BELOW (next 5 photos) : Some pieces of the Douglas C-47 Dakota aircraft lying in the muddy scar on Greenside Hill.


(next 5 photos) : Some pieces lying in the muddy scar.


Photo: © 2015-2016 Gary Nelson





Photo: © 2015-2016 Gary Nelson





Photo: © 2015-2016 Gary Nelson





Photo: © 2015-2016 Gary Nelson





Photo: © 2015-2016 Gary Nelson


More photos from Gary Nelson's collection on


Page 1-B, Page 1-C and Page 1-D




Other photos below





BELOW: Some small pieces of wreckage from the C-47 Dakota that crashed here in 1956. These fragments formed most of the remaining wreckage when the photo was taken in 1990.


some small pieces or wreckage were all that remained of the c47 when this photo was taken in 1990


Photo: © 1990-2009 Alan Leishman



BELOW: The crashed Starways C-47B Dakota seen lying at Greenside Hill near Largs in 1956.


the crashed starways c47b dakota seen lying at greenside hill near largs in 1956


Photo: © 1956-2009 Alasdair McLeod



BELOW: Accident Investigators carefully examine parts of the crashed aircraft.


accident investigators examine crashed aircraft


Photo: © 1956-2009 Alasdair McLeod









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Crash Date / Site


Pages last updated: 6 Aug 2016


(Route and more wreckage photos added.)



Accident Date: 28 Mar 1956


Accident Site:

Greenside Hill (400m)


Region: North Ayrshire (Clyde-Muirshiel Regional Park)


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large towns:

Largs (W) or Kilbirnie (E)


OS Grid Ref. 63 / NS 273 578 (?)


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Some fragmented wreckage remains at the site.



Air crash sites in this vicinity:


South side of A760:


1) RN Fairey Firefly DT977, Blaeloch Hill.

(Now within the grounds of a publicly-accessible wind farm at Kelburn Estate.)
Some parts, including engine, remain at the crash site, and are described on information boards by the wind farm operators (RES). RES have created a visitor's car park off the A760, and walking routes for the area. [Map and route details here.]



North side of A760:


2) RAF de Havilland Devon VP969, Slaty Law / Box Law.

Wings, engines and under-carriage, etc., remain at the site.


3) RAF Vickers Wellington R1164, Box Law.

Fragmented wreckage only remains at the crash site.


4) BEA Vickers Viking G-AIVE, Irish Law.

Wings, engines and under-carriage, etc., remain at the site.


5) RN Supermarine Sea Spitfire ('Seafire'). Hill of Stake.

All remaining wreckage now removed from the site.


6) Northern Scottish Airways Spartan Cruiser, Hill of Stake.

Remaining fuselage shell was recovered from the site in 1973. Now at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.


7) RAF Bristol Beaufort L9817, Knockside Hills, S of Irish Law.
Wreckage removed by RAF recovery team. Fragments only remain at the crash site.


8) Starways Douglas C-47B Dakota G-AMRB, Greenside Hill, SE of Irish Law.

(The aircraft on this page.)

Numerous small pieces remain at the crash site.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: G-AMRB


Operator: Starways


Operating Base: Liverpool (Speke) Airport (LPL / EGGP)


Base Location: Speke, near Liverpool


Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport


Current Airport Name: Liverpool John Lennon Airport (EGGP)





Related Links



Accident Specific Links

Audio interview and media article on Largs plane crash. (Testimony of David Hendry, one of the rescuers)

Aviation Safety Network (Accident Summary)

Impact point photos from 1980's and Cycle Kinross


Aircraft Model Link

Photo of Starways G-AMRB (model) at Classic British Flight Sim Forum


Other Links

Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota at Warbird Alley

Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota at Wikipedia

Starways at Wikipedia




Hill Walking Links


(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



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