Avro Lancaster ED481

Hawnby Hill, N Yorkshire, England













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: Avro Lancaster Mk B1 PA474.


This bomber is still airworthy, and forms part of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAF BBMF). See also here.


This aircraft was used in the making of the films, Operation Crossbow, and The Guns of Navarone.


lancaster bomber in flight


Photo: Source unknown.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Avro 683 Lancaster Mk III / ED481


(Click here for RAF history of this type)



Aircraft Type Nicknames: "Lanc"; "Lankie"


The Avro Lancaster was designed initially as a heavy bomber (more details at lancaster-archive.com). It was developed from the Avro Manchester bomber, but the unreliable Rolls-Royce Vulture engines of the Manchester were replaced on the Lancaster with 4 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.


The Lancaster Mark III variant  was fitted with 4 American-built Packard Merlin engines. The Mark X variant  was built by Victory Aircraft Ltd of  Ontario, Canada and was equipped with Merlin 38 engines.


During WWII, Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron RAF were used to carry out the 'Dambusters Raids' (Operation Chastise) over the Mohne, Sorpe, and Eder dams using Barnes Wallis' bouncing bombs.






Aircraft Accident Details


RAF Avro Lancaster ED481 formed part of a squadron sent on a bombing mission over Hamburg [see also map here] Germany.


The aircraft completed the mission, and was on the return leg of its journey. During this leg, the pilot was instructed not to return to RAF Waddington in Lincoln but to fly further north to RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.


While making its way to RAF Leeming, the Lancaster began to run very low on fuel.  Consequently, the bomber lost height and flew into Hawnby Hill, near Northallerton, killing all seven members of the crew.


It is possible that at least one engine, if not more, was out of action at the time of the crash. However, the pilot may have shut these down in an attempt to conserve fuel.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


All 7 crew members perished in this accident. These were:


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






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: The few remaining fragments of wreckage from Lancaster ED481.


the remaining fragments of wreckage from the lancaster


Photo: © 2013, Gary Nelson



BELOW: Another view of the fragmented wreckage.


another view of the fragments


Photo: © 2013, Gary Nelson



BELOW: "This wreckage merits closer inspection!"


As can be seen, the remaining fragments are partly concealed by long grass.


fragments partly concealed by long grass


Photo: © 2013, Gary Nelson








Recommend this page.

























Crash Date / Site


Country: England


national flag of England



Accident Date:  31 Jan 1943


Accident Site:

Hawnby Hill (270m)

[GPS map and photos]


Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (North Yorkshire Moors)


Nearest town or village:

Hawnby (S)


Nearest large town:

Northallerton (W) [map: zoom and scroll as required.]


OS Grid Ref. SE 53784 91445


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Small fragments only remain onsite. (See photos below.)




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: ED481


Operator: RAF (9 Squadron RAF)


Operating Station: RAF Waddington

(See also here for Airshow)


Station Location: Waddington, Lincoln, England


Current Station Status: Operational Military Air Station (RAF)


Current Station Name:

RAF Waddington




Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields




Related Links



Lancaster Archive and Forum

Lancaster and Manchester Bomber Archive. (Extensive historical database of Lancaster and Manchester bomber aircraft and air crew.)

Lancaster Archive Forum. (Includes Lancastrian and Manchester aircraft.)

Lancaster Pages. (General information, operational data, squadrons and units, air crew details, etc.)


RAF and Related Links

9 Squadron RAF

RAF Avro Lancaster (History)

RAF Bomber Command - Middleton St George

RAF Leeming

RAF Waddington


Other Links

Avro Lancaster at Warbird Alley

Avro Lancaster at Wikipedia



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