Avro Shackleton WR965

Maodal, S. Harris, Outer Hebrides













Aircraft Type Photo


 Pre-accident photo of WR965, the Shackleton featured on this page.



BELOW: An Avro Shackleton in flight.


shackleton in flight.


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



BELOW: An Avro Shackleton AEW2. This is the variant featured on this page.


Of 8 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth. Now on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, AZ (ex N790WL).


shackleton aew2.


Photo: © Mike Freer - Touchdown-aviation.


Released under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Avro Shackleton AEW2 (Mk.2) / WR965 "Dylan"



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 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


On 30 April 1990, Avro Shackleton WR965 "Dylan" of 8 Squadron took off from RAF Lossiemouth on a two part maritime training sortie. The aircraft flew from Lossiemouth in NE Scotland across the mainland to the Western Isles of Scotland.


Toward the end of the second part of the sortie, the Shackleton advised Benbecula ATC that it was preparing to land at that airfield. The Shackleton provided a fix of its present position (which turned out to be inaccurate). At this stage, the Shackleton called Benbecula to say that the weather was not sufficiently good to attempt an approach. However, the Shackleton had been circling further north over Northton on Harris—not Benbecula on Uist.


The pilot of the Shackleton then began to climb to a higher altitude. However, during his ascent, the aircraft crashed into Maodal on the Isle of South Harris. This hill had been obscured by low cloud and mist.



Search and Recovery Operation


On being advised by RAF Lossiemouth that the Shackleton was missing, RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team (Kinloss MRT) left their base with a fast response Sea King helicoper to search for the missing aircraft. The flight to the last known position would take them about 1 hour.


On arrival at this location, the Sea King SAR helicopter began picking up distress signals from the Shackleton's beacons. These signals are transmitted automatically in the event of a crash. The Sea King homed in on the beacons until it had located the wrecked Shackleton on the hillside at Maodal. The Team Leader immediately sent a message to base requesting full back-up from the remaining RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team.


Sadly, none of the Shackleton crew had survived. The RAF Mountain Rescue Team recovered the bodies of those who had perished. At a later stage, the wreckage was removed from the crash site.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


All 10 crew members died in this accident. These were:


From 8 Squadron RAF:

  • C/Cdr S J Roncoroni, Pilot

  • F/O C Hudson-Burns, Co-Pilot

  • W/Cdr C F Wrighton, Navigator

  • S/Ldr J A Lane, Navigator

  • Flt Lt A D Campbell, Navigator

  • Sgt G A R Miller, Flt Engineer

  • Flt Lt K S Forbes, Flt Controller

  • Master AEOp R A Scutt, Air Electronics Operator

  • Flt Sgt K P Rickets, Air Electronics Operator

  • Cpl S J Boulton, Technician


The Shackleton Association Register, Panel 201.



BELOW: Maodal Memorial.


Memorial on the summit of Maodal to the 10 man crew of a Shackleton which crashed here in 1990.


shackleton memorial cairn at maodal.


Maodal Memorial for NF9990


Photo: © Copyright Colin Kinnear


Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



BELOW: Maodal memorial plaque.


shackleton plaque on cairn at maodal.


Maodal memorial plaque for NF9990


Photo: © Copyright Colin Kinnear


Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.







Crash Site Photos



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








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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 30 Apr 1990


Accident Site:

Maodal (251m / 825ft)


Region: Western Isles (Isle of Harris / South Harris)


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large town:
None in this general area.


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Wreckage removed. Only small fragments remain.


Commemorative Cairn: A memorial cairn and plaque, surmounted by a radar receiver, was placed at the crash site:





Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: WR965


Operator: RAF (8 Squadron; 11 Group).


Operating Station: RAF Lossiemouth.


(At present, Lossiemouth is the operating base for 6 Squadron; XV (R) Squadron, and 202 (D Flt) Squadron.)


Station Location: Lossiemouth, Morayshire, 5 miles N of Elgin.


Current Station Status: Operational Military Airport.


Current Station Name: RAF Lossiemouth (EGQS)





Related Links



Accident Specific / Memorial Links

Memorial Feature
(To the memory of the crew of WR965 Shackleton "Dylan".)

Remembering the Crew of the Shackleton WR965 (RAF Benevolent Fund)

The Old Grey Ladies of Lossiemouth (YouTube Memorial Video (25 mins.))


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

8 Squadron RAF

RAF Lossiemouth

RAF Lossiemouth on Facebook

RAF Lossiemouth on Wikipedia

WR965 History


Other Link

Avro Shackleton at Warbird Alley




Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

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

Walking Scotland's Mountains



Emergency Services Link

Register for Text 999 Emergency Service

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.




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