Lockheed Neptune WX545

Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: An RAF Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1 at Manchester (Ringway) Airport in 1953.

 

This is the Neptune variant featured on this page.

 

An RAF Lockheed Neptune at Manchester Ringway airport

 

Photo: RuthAS

 

Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

 


 

BELOW: Another variant of the above aircraft: Lockheed SP2H Neptune at the RAF Museum, Cosford.

 

(On loan from the Helders Marinemuseum, the Netherlands.)

 

netherlands lockheed neptune on loan to raf cosford

 

Photo © 2005 BBC

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1  /  WX545

 


 

The Lockheed Neptune was designed as a maritime patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft.

 

Depending on the variant, the Neptune could be equipped with two Wright R-3350-26W Cyclone-18 radial engines; and, sometimes, with two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engines.

 

Some variants could carry rockets, bombs, depth charges or torpedos. Depending on their intended use, however, the Neptunes could be supplied with or without armaments.

 

The Neptune could reach a speed of just over 300mph, and could carry a crew of between 9 and 11 persons.

 

Until the advent of the Avro Shackleton, the RAF used these Lockheed Neptune aircraft with Coastal Command squadrons. They were employed for maritime (ASW) patrols, and for Airborne Early Warning and Control experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

In October 1956, Lockheed Neptune WX545 of 36 Squadron RAF flew with six other aircraft to N. Ireland. The purpose was to carry out anti-submarine exercises at the Joint Anti-Submarine School (JASS) stationed at RAF Ballykelly (later to become Shackleton Barracks).

 

The aircraft arrived without incident and took part in these exercises.

 

On the 10 October 1956, however, during the return flight to RAF Topcliffe, and in heavy mist over the Scottish coast, Lockheed Neptune WX545 flew into high ground (Beinn na Lice) on the Mull of Kintyre, killing all nine crew.

 

 

For a more detailed account of this incident, please download this document. Includes contemporary crash scene photos. (Microsoft Word document.)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew Casualties

 

The 9 who died were:

  • Flt Lt G. Finding, Pilot, RAF
  • F/O J. A. Campbell, Co-pilot, RAF

  • F/O G. Rishton, Navigator, RAF

  • Sgt C. Armstrong, Flt Engr., RAF

  • Flt Sgt R. Fox W/Op., RAF

  • Flt Sgt R. M. Noble, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt E. Honey, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt B. E. Lynn, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt R. V. Smith , Air Signaller, RAF

 


 

Memorial Photos

 

Topcliffe Cemetery - Graves of the crew of R.A.F. Neptune Aircraft WX545.

 

memorials to crew of lockheed neptune

 

© Bill Lovelock and licensed for reuse under  this Creative Commons Licence.

 


 

BELOW: R.A.F. Neptune WX545 Oak Memorial Plaque - St. Columba Church - Topcliffe.

 

The interior of Topcliffe C of E Church showing the Memorial plaque, dedicated in 2002, to the crew of Neptune Aircraft WX545, based at R.A.F., Topcliffe, which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre with the loss of all 9 of the crew on October 10th 1956.

 

The plaque was made by Bob Hunter, who resides near Topcliffe village. Bob was an formerly an apprentice of the famous 'Mouseman', Thomson of North Yorkshire.

 

With his back to the camera talking to his son, is Ian Kirk. Ian had been a member of the unfortunate crew until a week before the incident. Ian died on 13th February 2010.

 

memorial plaque at st columba church topcliffe

 

Photo: 2008 Bill Lovelock

 

Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

 


 

BELOW:  Memorial plaque at Beinn na Lice.

 

Memorial plaque at Beinn na Lice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

BELOW: Lockheed Neptune WX545. This was the aircraft that crashed close to Beinn na Lice on the Mull of Kintyre.

 

neptune wx545 before crash.

 

Photo: Courtesy, Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Ammunition feed chute from the Neptune.

 

ammo feed chute.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: One of the Neptune's two Wright Cyclone piston engines.

 

a wright cyclone piston engine.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: The engine firewall from the aircraft.

 

engine firewall.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Part of the Neptune's fuselage.

 

part of fuselage.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Fuselage section stencilled F/Off J.R.C.

 

fuselage stencilled f/off.J.R.C.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Nose gear.

 

nose gear.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Propeller assembly.

 

propeller assembly.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Starboard wing. This photo was taken in 1982.

 

starboard wing photo taken 1982.

 

Photo: © 1982-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Starboard wing and engine. This photo was taken ten years later in 1992.

 

starboard wing and engine. photo taken 1992.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Starboard wing and self sealing fuel tanks.

 

wing self sealing fuel tanks.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Steven Spink and Alan Leishman with tailplane.

 

s.spink and a.leishman with tailplane.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Tail fin and tail plane.

 

tail fin and tail plane.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 


 

BELOW: Undercarriage.

 

undercarriage.

 

Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson

 

 


 

 

Other Photos

 

 

BELOW: The impact point showing part of the wreckage of the Lockheed Neptune on the hillside at Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre.

 

part of the wrreckage from the Lockheed Neptune on the hillside

 

Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman

 


 

BELOW:  One of the two engines from Neptune WX545.

 

Neptune engine wreckage

 

Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman

 


 

BELOW: A section of the Lockheed Neptune's wing.

 

part of a  wing from the Neptune

 

Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 10 Oct 1956

 

Accident Site:

Beinn na Lice

 

Region: Argyll and Bute (Kintyre)

 

Nearest town or village:

Campbeltown

 

Nearest large town:

Campbeltown

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: Some larger sections of wreckage may still be found at the crash site (see photos below).

 


 

Other air crashes in this vicinity:

 

1) RAF A.W. Whitley Mk.V P5041 crash near Balmavicar, Mull of Kintyre, in 1941.

 

2) RAF Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook ZD576 (helicopter) crash at Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre, in 1994.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: WX545

 

Operator: RAF (36 Squadron)

 

Operating Station: RAF Topcliffe (now, Alanbrooke Barracks)

 

Station Location: Topcliffe, Yorkshire

 

Current Station Status: RAF Topcliffe was taken over by the army and renamed Alanbrooke Barracks.

 

Current Station (Base) Name: Alanbrooke Barracks.

 

 

 

 

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