Short Stirling EE972

Broaden, The Cheviot

 
     
 
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Aircraft Photo

 

BELOW: Royal Air Force armourers check over the sixteen 250lb bombs before they are loaded into a Short Stirling bomber N6101 of No 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. [Wikipedia].

 

Short Stirling bomber being bombed up

 

(Photo: [pre-1961] Crown Copyright (expired)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Short Stirling III / EE972 coded C-OG

 


 

The Short Stirling (named after the city of Stirling in Scotland) was the first of the RAF's 4-engine bombers of WWII.It entered service in 1941. However, it remained in front line operations only until 1943, when it was relegated to less onerous duties. At this point, the Stirling was replaced by bombers such as the Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster.

The Air Ministry requirements for the Stirling were for an aircraft capable of carrying a 14,000lb bomb load over a range of 2,000 miles (or a greater range with a lesser bomb load). The Stirling was to be equipped with three gun turrets (nose, dorsal, and tail). Furthermore, it had to be capable of acting as a troop transport aircraft, with accommodation for 24 fully equipped service personnel. Again, it needed to be able to take off from a short runway or undeveloped airstrip.

 

The Mk III version of the Short Stirling (the type featured on this page) was equipped with four 1,635 hp Bristol Hercules XV or XVI air cooled radial engines, and was designed to carry a crew of seven.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

RAF Short Stirling EE972 coded C-OG from 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit (1665 HCU) was on a training mission when it flew into low cloud and crashed close to the summit of The Cheviot. 1

 

The bomber was flying south on a training flight when it came down about one hundred yards to the north east of the cairn. Two of the eight-strong crew who suffered only superficial injuries walked down to Langleeford in the neighbouring Harthope valley and alerted the local shepherds who walked out to the crash site. Two airmen died in the accident and another seriously injured crewman was carried down the hill on a wooden hurdle (a small portable gate), a difficult feat over such rough terrain. He sadly died a few days later.

 

The aircraft was flying in low cloud and the aircrew had no maps. The accident report records that strange atmospheric conditions had been experienced that day which may have contributed to the crash. Little remains of the plane today except an oil cooler on the summit and an engine cowling in Coldlaw Sike.

 


 

Footnote 1

 

In connection with this incident, the Pilot's log book records a flight time of 2 hours and 35 minutes.

 

(Overall, F/O Verrall had flown EE972 for a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes.)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew Casualties

 

Those who died were:

(Please click on hyperlinked names above for further details.)

 

 

Those who survived with injuries were:

 

F/O [later, Sqn Ldr, DFC] John Henry Verrall,  Instructor / Pilot-in-Command, RNZAF 2

 

F/O E F Insley (Pupil Pilot), RCAF

 

Sgt D C Bisgrove (Flt Eng)

 

Sgt T K Hatfield (Flt Eng)

 

W/O Joseph Arthur Hay (Air Gnr) RCAF

 

Sgt A Williams (Air Gnr)

 


 

Footnote 2

 

The Pilot recorded in his notes:

 

"My crash. Starboard wing ripped off and fuselage broke in two. 3 killed: navigator, bomb aimer, rear gunner."

 

(Recalling this incident in later years, the Pilot stated that if they had been six feet higher or six feet lower he would never have known about it. They scalped the top of the hill in thick cloud and that explains the location of the fatalities. Those riding higher in the fuselage survived.)

 

F/O Verrall was flying again as an instructor just 20 days later on 15 October 1944; and, on 18 October, he was flying again with Flt Sgt Bisgrove--one of the other survivors of the crash.

 

 

[This and  other information was kindly provided by Ben Verrall, the Pilot's son.]

  

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

 

Approach Route Photos

 

 

BELOW (next two photos): Emerging from the fog and cloud into the sunshine on the summit of Cheviot.

 

Hedgehope Hill can be seen peeking through the clag across the Harehope Valley (blue arrow on 2nd photo).

 

(next two photos): Emerging from the fog and cloud into the sunshine on the summit of Cheviot.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW (next four photos): Nearing the summit of Cheviot. Well above the clouds now.

 

(next four photos): Nearing the summit of Cheviot. Well above the clouds now.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 

 


 

 

 

Assorted Wreckage (Cheviot Summit Plateau)

 

 

BELOW (next two photos): On the summit plateau of Cheviot, the summit trig point can just be seen on the centre of the horizon just to left of the fence.

 

The Stirling crashed just to the right of the path about 100m (109 yds) from the trig point.

 

(next four photos): Nearing the summit of Cheviot. Well above the clouds now.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Yellow caption on left reads: cowlings and other parts down here on Coldlaw Sike.

 

Yellow caption on right reads: oil cooler and scraps.

 

(next four photos): Nearing the summit of Cheviot. Well above the clouds now.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Assorted wreckage from the Short Stirling found on the summit of The Cheviot.

 

The other parts are about half a mile away from here and quite a way downhill (see earlier photos further down this page).

 

Assorted wreckage from the Short Stirling found on the summit of The Cheviot.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A few remaining scraps of aluminium.

 

A few remaing scraps of aluminium.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW (next four photos): An oil cooler from Stirling EE972.

 

(next four photos): An oil cooler from Stirling EE972.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

 

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: The camera lens cap indicates the relative size of the oil cooler.

 

The camera lens cap indicates the relative size of the oil cooler.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: The oil cooler and other small pieces shown in relation to Cheviot summit plateau.

 

The oil cooler and other small pieces shown in relation to Cheviot summit plateau.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Another small scrap of wreckage.

 

Another small scrap of wreckage.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Crumpled aluminium scrap.

 

Another small scrap of wreckage.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 

 

 

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Earlier Photos (Lower Slopes of Cheviot)

 

 

BELOW: Some of the remaining wreckage.

 

The wreckage pieces lie at the back of the boggy area, approximately in line with the German Shepherd dog in the foreground.

 

This, however, is not the original impact site, which was further up the slopes and much closer to the summit.

 

Looking toward the crash site on Broaden

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: A closer view of the crash site, showing the boggy ground and some of the wreckage.

 

A closer view of the crash site.

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: One of the larger sections of wreckage.

 

A larger section of wreckage

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: A block from  one of the engines / gear assemblies (?)

 

A cast block from one of the engines

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW:  Aluminium skin from wing or fuselage (?)

 

Aluminium skin from wing or fuselage ?

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: Another section of wreckage.

 

another section of wreckage

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: Another larger section.

 

another section from the Stirling

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: Gary shows the underside of one of the remaining wreckage sections.

 

Gary shows the underside of one of the sections

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: An engine section (?) (foreground) lying in the long grass.

 

engine section lying in long grass

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 


 

 

BELOW: More sections of wreckage.

 

more larger sections of wreckage

 

Photo: © 2008-2011 Gary Nelson

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Page last updated: 24 Apr 2015

 



 

Country: England

 

England national flag

 


 

Accident Date: 25 Sep 1944

 

Accident Site:

Broaden, The Cheviot (815m)

 

Region: Northumberland

 

Nearest towns or villages:

Kirk Yetholm (Borders) (NW) or Wooler (Northumberland) (NE).

 

Nearest large towns:

None in this general area.

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Wreckage Status: Some wreckage sections associated with engines / nacelles may still be found on the slopes below the original crash site (see photos below).

 


 

Air crashes on or near The Cheviot:

 

RAF Vickers Warwick HG136 crash at West Hill, near Cairn Hill, The Cheviot, in 1946.

 

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 44-6504 crash at West Hill, The Cheviot, near Braydon Crag, in 1944 (The aircraft on this page).

 

RAF Vickers Wellington Mk.IA IC Z1078 crash at West Hill, The Cheviot, in 1942.

 

RAF Short Stirling Mk. III EE972 crash near Broaden, The Cheviot in 1944.  (The aircraft on this page.)

 

RCAF Avro Lancaster Mk. X  KB745 crash above Goldscleugh, The Cheviot, in 1944.

 

RAF Hawker Hart K6482 crash above Goldscleugh, The Cheviot, in 1939.

 

RAF Supermarine Spitfire P8587 crash at Bellyside Hill, The Cheviot, in 1943.

 

RAF Handley Page Hampden L4063 crash at Windy Gyle, The Cheviots, in 1940.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: EE972, coded C-OG

 

Operator: RAF (1665 HCU)

 

Operating Station: RAF Tilstock (photos of now-derelict buildings)

 

Station Location: Whitchurch, Shropshire, England.

 

Current Station Status: Military operations ceased in 1946. Airfield still used for parachuting / skydiving courses.

 

Current Airfield Name: Tilstock Airfield / The Parachute Centre (Skydive Tilstock)

 

 

 

 

Related Links

 

 

Accident Specific Links

College-Valley.co.uk (Scroll down page to Wartime Plane Crashes)

 

RAF and Related Links

1665 Heavy Conversion Unit (1665 HCU)

RAF Commands.com (Forum)

RAF Tilstock at Control Towers.co.uk

 

Other Links

Short Stirling (Interior photos)

Short Stirling bomber at YouTube (Video)

 

 

 

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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Essential Gear

 

 

Beacon GPS Guide Maps

 

Essential Equipment - Three Seasons.

 

Trespass - Outdoor Clothing and Equipment

 

Walking Boots Advice

 

 

 

 

 
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