Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Avro Shackleton MR.3 / XF710, coded F
Aircraft Type Nicknames: "The Shack"; "The Growler"; "Bear Hunter", and others.
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.
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
Photo: © 2014 Iain Kesson
The inscription on the Memorial reads:
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:
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 Date / Site
Accident Date: 10 Jan 1964
Culloden Moor (155m)
Region: Highland (Moray)
Nearest town or village: Smithton or Balloch
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.
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)
Forums, Organisations, and Societies
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
Growling Over the Oceans:
The Royal Air Force Avro Shackleton, the Men and the Missions 1951-1991 Deborah Lake.
Hill Walking Links
(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)
Hillwalking (The Scottish Mountaineering Club)
Hillwalking.org.uk (Equipment, etc.)
Mountain Guides (Routes, maps, advice and guidance compiled by Steven Fallon)
OutdoorScotland.co.uk (Directory of Clubs, Associations, and Mountain Rescue Teams)
WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)
Emergency Services Link
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.
Avro Shackleton XF710
Culloden Moor, Inverness, Highland