H.P. Hampden P2118

Ben Loyal, Lettermore, Highland













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A Handley Page Hampden bomber in flight..


handley page hampden bomber in flight


Photo: [pre-1950] Taken by an employee of the UK government. Photo now in the public domain.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Handley Page HP52 Met I Hampden/ P2118, Z9-D



(Click here for RAF history of this type)


(Former bomber / torpedo bomber)


Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Flying Suitcase"



The Handley Page Hampden was a five-seat medium bomber which first entered service with No. 5 Group RAF in 1938. The aircraft had a fixed forward-facing gun in addition to three manually operated Lewis guns. However, crew positions in the narrow fuselage were cramped: hence the nickname, 'the flying suitcase.'


Initially, Hampdens were used in daylight bombing raids over Germany. However, due to heavy losses at the hands of the faster Luftwaffe fighters, Hampdens were withdrawn from this role in 1942.


Hampdens were used also by RAF Coastal Command as torpedo bombers. This role ceased, however, in 1943.



BELOW: A restored Handley Page Hampden bomber on display at the Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley, British Columbia.

See other views of this aircraft from inside the wire fence at the Canadian Museum of Flight.


restored hampden bomber on display at Canadian Museum of Flight Langley BC


Photo: 2006 'Bzuk'. Released by the author to the public domain under Wikimedia Commons licensing arrangement.






Aircraft Accident Details


When the aircraft featured here crashed, it was attached to RAF Coastal Command 519 Squadron—the successor to 1406 (Meteorological) Flight.

Another Hampden (P5443) had taken off from RAF Wick on the morning of 25 August 1943 to assess and report on weather conditions. It's flight path would have taken it over Iceland, Norway and then back via the Faeroes to Scotland. In the early afternoon, however, while over Sullom Voe in the Shetlands, the aircraft issued a distress call. Apparently, it had experienced engine problems.

In response to the distress call, the Hampden featured here (P2118) set out to search for the missing aircraft. However, after a prolonged search, they could find no trace of the missing Hampden. Ultimately, they set course for their base at Wick.

While over the Scottish mainland, however, they encountered a severe thunderstorm. As the weather conditions worsened, the aircraft began to fly off-course. Very soon, it impacted Ben Loyal, just a few miles from Tongue, but about 80km (c.50 miles) short of its base in Wick.




Aircraft Crew Casualties / Survivor


Of the four crew on board, only one survived. Those who died were:

Flt Lt Puplett & P/O Ritchie were laid to rest in Wick Cemetery. Flt Sgt Hudson-Bell was laid to rest in Chislehurst Cemetery.



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



The one surviving, but very seriously injured, crew member was:


F/O Faulks, Observer (further details here)



Aircrew Graves


BELOW: The graves of P/O G. W. Ritchie (Navigator) and Flt Sgt T. R. T. Hudson-Bell (W/O A/G) at Wick cemetery. These were two of the three airmen who died in this accident.


headstone and grave of P/O G W Ritchie and Wick Cemetery





Grave and headstone for Flt Sgt T R T Hudson-Bell at Wick Cemetery


Photos: © 2008 Steven Spink






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: A section of the airframe from the Hampden at Ben Loyal.


a section of the airframe from the Hampden on Ben Loyal


Photo: 2013 © Neil Daniel



BELOW: Another detached section from the airframe.


another detached section from the airframe


Photo: 2013 © Neil Daniel



BELOW: Fuel tank from one of the wings (?)


fuel tank from one of the wings ?


Photo: 2013 © Neil Daniel



BELOW: Wreckage from the tail assembly of Hampden P2118.


wreckage from tail of Hampden


Photo: 2013 © Neil Daniel




More Photos Below

and in Photo Gallery









Earlier Photos


BELOW: Looking toward the summit of Ben Loyal from wreckage scattered around the higher slope.


looking toward summit from wreckage on higher slope


Photo: © 2008 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Looking down the valley from wreckage on higher slope.


looking down valley from wreckage on higher slope


Photo: © 2008 Gary Nelson



BELOW: This section appears to have two wire cable pulleys attached.


wreckage section with wire cable pulleys attached


Photo: © 2008 Gary Nelson



BELOW: View of actuator assembly (see alternative, larger, view in the Photo Gallery)


alternative view of actuators


Photo: © 2008 Gary Nelson





Photo Gallery


For additional crash site and wreckage photos please select


from the drop down Album Menu in the Photo Gallery.

















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 25 Aug 1943


Accident Site:

Ben Loyal (763m / 2,504ft)


Region: Highland (Sutherland)


Nearest town, village, or hamlet:



Nearest large town:



OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Some

scattered wreckage still onsite, including engine section, panels and machinery parts.




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: P2118, Z9-D


Operator: RAF (1406 Meteoro-logical Flight; succeeded by RAF Coastal Command No 519 Squadron)


Operating Base: RAF Wick (18 Group Coastal Ops.)


Base Location: Wick, Caithness Scotland.


Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport.


Current Airport Name: Wick Airport (IATA: WIC / ICAO: EGPC)




Related Links



Discussion Forums (Share information about this air crash on these forums)


Aircraft Crash Project


The Aviation Forum (Historic Aviation)



RAF and Related Links

Battle of Britain at RAF Wick

RAF 519 Squadron (Wick)

RAF Handley Page Hampden (History)

The Wartime Memorials Project - RAF Wick


RCAF Links


HP Hampden at RCAF.com


Other Links (Hampden Aircraft)

HP Hampden at Canadian Museum of Flight

HP Hampden at Wikipedia

HP Hampden photos at The Aviation Forum


Other Links (General)

Air Operations from RAF Wick

Wings over Wick




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