A.W. Whitley P5070

East Scaraben, Highland

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: An 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 Mk.V / P5070

 


 

(Click here for RAF history of this type)

 

Aircraft Type Designation: 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 However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.

 

The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945.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 (the variant featured here) 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Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command.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

 

At the moment, background details to this crash are not available.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew Casualties

 

Those who died in this incident were:
Sgt James Burnett McKenzie (30) RAF (AAF) A/G Aberdeen (Grove) Cemetery
         
Sgt Douglas John McPherson (23) RNZAF OBS Wick Cemetery
         
Sgt Albert Skelhorn RAFVR A/G Great Sankey (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, .
Sgt Reginald Frank Skelton Smith RAFVR A/G,  W/O Enfield, (Hertford Road), Cemetery.
Sgt Henry Matthew Williams (24) RAFVR Pilot Bristol, (Canford) Cemetery.
P/O Frederick Lyddon Arney (24) RAFVR Pilot Maidstone Cemetery, Kent..

 

All of the above died when the aircraft crashed on 1 May 1941, with the exception of P/O F L Arney who died in hospital the next day (2 May 1941)

 

Please click on the hyperlinked names above for Commonwealth War Grave Commission details.

 


 

 

(Crew casualty details kindly provided by Alan Leishman.)

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

BELOW: Aluminium wreckage from RAF A.W. Whitley P5070.

 

aluminium wreckage section from aw whitley

 

Photo: ©  2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

BELOW: Possibly, part of a wing spar from the Whitley aircraft.

 

possibly, wing spars from whitley aircraft

 

Photo: ©  2013 Neil Daniel

 



 

BELOW: The following three photos show some of the fragments remaining at East Scaraben.

The small metal pieces can be seen about the centre of the photo just to the right of the walking pole.

 

fragments of Whitley wreckage at East Scaraben

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 


 

BELOW: A slightly closer view.

 

another view of the fragments

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 


 

BELOW: Slightly enlarged again.

 

a third view of the remaining metal pieces

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 

 

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

BELOW: More small pieces piled together (between the ice axe and the walking poles)

 

more small pieces piled together

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 


 

BELOW: A metal plate from the Whitley bomber.

 

metal plate from whitley bomber

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 


 

BELOW: Another metal casting from the Whitley.

 

another metal casting

 

Photo:  © 2012 Douglas Gordon

 

 

 


 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 1 May 1941

 

Accident Site:

East Scaraben (591m)

 

(Wreckage lies NE of the summit of E. Scaraben)

 

Nearest main road: A9.

 

Region: Highland (Caithness)

 

Nearest town or village: Helmsdale (S)

 

OS Grid Ref. ND 08349 27653

 

GPS Waypoints

 

Present Condition: Much of the wreckage has been removed by recovery teams or retrieved to help with museum projects. However, some small pieces of wreckage can still be found at the crash site.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: P5070

 

Operator: RAF (612 Squadron, Coastal Command)

 

Operating Station: RAF Wick

 

Station Location: Wick, Highland, Scotland.

 

Current Station Status: Military operations ceased in 1946.

 

Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport

 

Current Airport Name: Wick Airport (EGPC)

 

 

 

Related Links

 

 

Accident Specific Link

 

The Whitley Project by Elliott Smock (includes details of remaining wrerckage)

 

 

RAF and Related Links

 

612 Squadron

RAF Armstrong Whitworth Whitley (History)

RAF Wick

 

Other Links

 

Highland HER

(See also this variant link)

 

 

 

 

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