Avro Shackleton XF710

Culloden Moor, Inverness, Highland













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An Avro Shackleton.


an avro shackleton in flight


Photo: 1970. Released by the author to the public domain under Wikimedia Commons licensing arrangement.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Avro Shackleton MR.3 / XF710, coded F



Aircraft Type Nicknames: "The Shack"; "The Growler"; "Bear Hunter", and others.



The Avro Shackleton was intended to fulfil the role of a long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and patrol bomber, replacing the Liberators and Catalinas that were used during WWII.


The Shackleton was based to some extent on the Avro Lincoln bomber, but was equipped with four Rolls-Royce Griffon piston engines with contra-rotating propellers. Sound proofing was required as the Griffon power plants were very noisy.


Entering service in 1957, the Shackleton M.R.3 variant featured here carried extra fuel in tip-tanks at the end of the wings. Unlike earlier variants with their tail-dragging landing gear, the M.R.3 was equipped with a tricycle landing gear.


The later (Phase 2) M.R.3 Shackletons were equipped with additional Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet engines to be used during take-off. However, the strain of these engines on the airframe shortened the lifespan of this variant.


Shackletons continued in service with the RAF until being replaced gradually by Hawker Siddeley / British Aerospace Nimrods.






Aircraft Accident Details


No. 3 engine caught fire, oversped and fell off after take off from Kinloss, Morayshire.


No. 4 engine then caught fire and was feathered. The fire spread along the whole wing and a forced landing was made on Culloden Moor near Inverness where the aircraft burnt out.


All of the crew escaped and joined a village party to await their rescuers.



NOTE: A WWII Bomber Command veteran, the Pilot of this aircraft was held in very high esteem for his skill in executing this forced landing; especially, at night. Not only did he avoid civilian casualties by steering his aircraft away from the heavily populated area around Inverness, but he also avoided ditching in the Moray Firth, thereby putting the lives of his crew at greater risk.


For his great skill in landing this severely damaged Shackleton safely and without loss of life, the Pilot later was awarded a Bar for his AFC.



"Flt Lt Gladstone's calmness, leadership and gallant behaviour 'undoubtedly saved the lives of his crew and prevented loss of civilian lives and property,' the citation states." (Flight International, 9 April 1964.)



[Apart from the quotation from Flight magazine, the Pilot's name and much of the details in the Note above were kindly provided by David Davies.]



"Growling Over the Oceans"


A more detailed account of this incident can be seen here in this extract from "Growling Over the Oceans" by Deborah Lake (This is an Excel document. It will download and open in your spreadsheet software).






Shackleton Park Memorial



memorial stone at shackleton park


Photo: © 2014 Iain Kesson



The inscription on the Memorial reads:


Shackleton Park


This park is named in memory of the Shackleton bomber of 120 Squadron Coastal Command that crash landed near this site on 10th January 1964. It commemorates the heroism and skill that saved both the community and the crew from disaster.






Aircraft Crew Survivors


All crew members survived this incident. Some of these were:


    Flt Lt J. 'Pop' Gladstone AFC and Bar (AFC*), Pilot, RAF.


    F/O Jim Lee, Co-Pilot (Later to become Chief Pilot for Loganair then a GP (Obituary on Page 2))


    John Mepham, Flt Engr.


    Jamie Hamilton (Killed in Vulcan XL390 crash at Glenville,USA 12/08/1978)


    John R Hudson, RCAF (Canadian Exchange Officer)



[Crew details kindly provided by Alan Thomson.]






Crash Site Photos


There are no crash site photos for this aircraft at the moment.





(Obituary: Dr Jim Lee; formerly, F/O Jim Lee, Co-Pilot of Shackleton XF710)






Recommend this page.


























Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 10 Jan 1964


Accident Site:

Culloden Moor (155m)


Region: Highland (Moray)


Nearest town or village: Smithton or Balloch


Nearest large town: Inverness (W) [Google map]


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: As a result of the forced-landing, the aircraft sustained significant damage and was subsequently written off. It is believed that virtually all of the remaining wreckage was removed from the crash site by RAF recovery teams.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: XF710 coded F


Operator: RAF (120 Squadron)


Operating Station: RAF Kinloss / RAF Forres (satellite of Kinloss)


Station Location (RAF Kinloss): Forres, Morayshire: Three miles from Forres; 12 miles from Eglin; 27 miles from Inverness.


Current Station Status:

Military operations ceased in 2009. However, airfield has been retained as Emergency Landing airfield for GR4 Tornados from RAF Lossiemouth.


Current Station Name: RAF Kinloss (FSS / EGQK)





Related Links



Military Award


Flt Lt J. 'Pop' Gladstone awarded Bar to his AFC.



Forums, Organisations, and Societies

The Shackleton Association



A Most Active Shackleton (a look at Newark Air Museum's Shackleton on its 50th anniversary)

Avro Shackleton at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford


RAF and Related Links

Forces RAF Kinloss

Forces ReunitedRAF Kinloss

RAF Kinloss

The Wartime Memories ProjectRAF Kinloss


Other Links

Avro Shackleton at Warbird Alley


Related Book


Growling Over the Oceans:
The Royal Air Force Avro Shackleton, the Men and the Missions 1951-1991 Deborah Lake.


book: growling over the oceans.

Growling Over the Oceans





Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

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

Walking Scotland's Mountains




Emergency Services Link

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