A.W. Whitley P5041

Balmavicar, Mull of Kintyre, Argyll.













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An A.W. Whitley Mk.V.


a.w. whitley mark v


Photo: Source unknown.



BELOW: Another Armstrong Whitworth A.W.38 Whitley bomber.


Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber


Photo: c.1940


This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Armstrong Whitworth AW.38 Whitley /  P5041, coded YG-C



(Click here for RAF history of this type)


Aircraft Type Designation: AW.38 (Front line medium bomber.)



The Whitley was an all-metal monoplane and medium-heavy bomber, fitted with two engines. Initially, these were Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX (later reverting to VIII) engines. However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.


The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945. The aircraft carried a crew of four (six on the Mark VII).


Improvements to the Whitley Mark V included a Nash and Thomson powered tail turret with four 7.7mm (0.303in) machine guns, an extended rear fuselage to improve the tail gunner's view, and de-icing equipment.


The Whitley Mark V could carry up to 3,178kg (7,000lbs) of bombs distributed between the bomb bay and wing racks. It had a range of 2,654km (1,650 miles) and could fly at 357km/h (222mph).


Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command. The Mark VII variant of the Whitley was equipped with ASV (Air to Surface Vessel) Mk II radar and proved effective in its role as a reconnaissance aircraft.


Some Whitley Mark V bombers were converted to freight-carrying aircraft operated by BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation). Flying at night, they ferried essential supplies between Gibraltar and Malta, until replaced by the more fuel-efficient Lockheed Hudsons.






Aircraft Accident Details


RAF Whitley P5041 coded YG-C of 502 Sqn. took off from Aldergrove at 1222hrs on 23rd January 1941 to provide escort cover for Convoy HG50 en route from Gibraltar to Liverpool. P5041 became lost on return to Aldergrove and flew into high ground near Balmavicar.  





Aircraft Crew Casualties


The crew who died in this incident were:


  • Flt Lt Philip Leslie Billing, Pilot,
    (Buried, Plot B, Grave 6A, Glenavy (St. Aiden),Church of Ireland Churchyard, Co. Antrim.)

  • F/O Arthur Peter Buckley Holmes (32), Navigator, RAF (Auxiliary Air Force),
    (Buried, Sectiion F, Grave 12, Drumbeg (St Patrick) Church of Ireland Churchyard, Co. Antrim. )

  • Sgt Herbert Pilling (23), Observer, RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section C, Grave 94, Conisbrough Cemetery, Yorkshire.)

  • Sgt Alec Raymond Hooker (20), Observer, RAFVR.
    (Buried, Faversham Borough Cemetery, Kent.)

  • Sgt David John Peter Bradley (19), Wireless Operator, RAF.
    (Buried, Section E, Grave 614, Willesden New Cemetery, Greater London.)


(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website).





Queens College Oxford





ARTHUR PETER BUCKLEY HOLMES was the son of Buckley Holmes
of Gannock Park, Deganwy, Carnarvonshire, and was born at
Deganwy on 26th November 1908. He entered the College from
Malvern School as a Commoner, and matriculated in 1927. He read
Jurisprudence and obtained First Class Honours in that School in
1930. He rowed in the College boat. His main recreation, however,
was woodwork, and this became in later years an absorbing hobby
with which he took infinite pains, producing useful as well as ornamental work.


On leaving Oxford he studied at home for the Civil Service,
which he entered in Northern Ireland in 1931. He remained there
until the outbreak of war.


In 1935 he joined the Auxiliary Air Force and was commissioned
in 502 Ulster Squadron. He was called up in August 1939 and became
a Flying Officer in the R.A.F. His Squadron was equipped for long-
range convoy escort work and was attached to Coastal Command.


On 23rd January 1941 he together with his Captain and crew took
off in poor weather conditions from their base in Northern Ireland.
After meeting and escorting a convoy for over three hours they lost
their way and in attempting to get back crashed in the hills and were killed.


He leaves a widow and son.





[The crash site photos below and most of the information in this Panel and the Panel above was kindly provided by Alan Thomson.]






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Highly fragmented wreckage from Whitley P5041 at Balmavicar, NW of Beinn na Lice on the Mull of Kintyre.


highly fragmented wreckage from whitley p5041 at balmavicar, kintyre.


Photo: © 2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Part of a main undercarriage (oleo) leg from the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft of RAF Coastal Command.


a main undercarriage leg.


Photo: © 2014 Alan Thomson







 Search Website

Air Crash Sites-Scotland

Custom Search


Search here for: aircraft types | crash sites | crew names | hills or mountains

Please enter desired aircraft type, crew name, or location in search box.






























Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 23 Jan 1941


Accident Site:

(NNW of Beinn na Lice)


Nearest road: Unclassified roads only from Campbeltown to "The Gap" (the road / track Between Beinn na Lice and Torr Mòr).


Region: Argyll and Bute (Argyll / Mull of Kintyre)


Nearest town:

Campbeltown (NE)


Nearest large town or city: None in this general area.


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref. N/A


Present Condition: Undercarriage (oleo) leg and highly fragmented wreckage remains at the crash site.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: P5041, coded YG-C


Operator: RAF (502 Squadron, Coastal Command.)


Operating Station: RAF Aldergrove.


Station Location: Aldergrove, N.Ireland.


Current Station Status: Operational Military Station.


Current Station Name: JHFS (Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station) Aldergrove





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.




Essential Gear



Beacon GPS Guide Maps


Essential Equipment - Three Seasons.


Trespass - Outdoor Clothing and Equipment


Walking Boots Advice