A.W. Whitley P5090/L

Fathan Glinne, Balquhidder, Stirling













Aircraft Type Photo


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


Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft type - black and white


Photo: [pre 1940 / Public Domain]


Photo published in Aircraft of the Fighting Powers Vol. 1. Editors: H J Cooper, O G Thetford and D A Russell. Harborough Publishing Co., Leicester, England, 1940. [Wikipedia.]






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk V / P5090, YG-L



(Click here for RAF history of this type)



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 However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.


The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945.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Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command.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


Most of the air accidents listed on this website involve aircraft that were not directly engaged in operational sorties or missions. For example, many of those that crashed did so during training flights, ferry flights, or due to mechanical or structural failure.


The Whitley featured here, however, is an exception. This aircraft was on an operational mission flying an anti-submarine patrol over the Atlantic. Its task was to detect U-boats; to release depth charges over the target, and to alert the Royal Navy convoy escort ships to the presence of U-boats in their area.


Thus, these anti-submarine patrols provided much needed protection for the Royal Navy and merchant marine as they crossed the Atlantic with vital supplies for the Allied forces.



BELOW: An A. W. Whitley Mk. VII on anti-submarine patrol.


A Whitley on anti-submarine patrol in 1942


Photo: Crown Copyright (expired)





After completing its mission, Whitley P5090 began heading to its station at RAF Aldergrove in N. Ireland. However, for some reason, the pilot skirted the northern coast of N. Ireland and continued flying east-north-east until he ended up over Central Scotland.


By this time, the crew realised they were lost. With the aircraft running low on fuel, it was not long before it crashed at Fathan Glinne, just S of Loch Voil and SW of the village of Balquhidder. The nearest large town to this area is Stirling in Central Scotland.






Aircraft Crew Casualties / Survivor


Those who died in this air crash were:


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



One crew member survived with injuries. He was:


Sgt W S Hamilton, Air Gnr.






Crash Site Photos



Researcher's Notes (1970s) [From John Martindale's log].


    Wreckage Description and Aircraft History --


  • 474169 head of Fathan Glinne, Balquidder.

  • P5090, L of 502 Squadron.

  • 24/11/40 at 01.20 am.


  • Wing intact outside of engines, port side.

  • Two engines and many parts present.

  • Fuselage burnt and destroyed.

  • Bombs were exploded by the rescue party, and the craters can be seen.

  • Camouflage black / brown / green instead of Coastal Command colours.


  • Spinner and blades are on a cairn at Strathyre.

  • Engine Nos. 137250, 17284.




Earlier Photos



BELOW: A section of a wing from Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5090 showing boxed reinforcing ribs / corrugated skinning.


Part of the airframe from Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5090 showing boxed reinforcing ribs.


Photo: © 1970s-2015 John Martindale



BELOW: John Martindale standing in front of the wreckage. Part of the landing gear fork and hub can be seen on the lower right.


Another view of the wreckage. Part of the landing gear fork and hub can be seen on the lower right.


Photo: © 1970s-2015 John Martindale






Later Photos



BELOW: Approaching the wreckage of Whitley P5090 on Fathan Glinne, S of Loch Voil, Stirling.


approaching the wreckage of the whitley on fathan glinne


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: The main debris field.


main debris field


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Perhaps, the largest remaining wreckage sections from the A.W. Whitley: wing panels and spars.


wing panel and spars


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel








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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 24 Nov 1940


Accident Site:

Fathan Glinne

(S of Loch Voil)


Region: Stirling


Nearest town or village:

Balquhidder (NE)


Nearest large town or city:

Stirling (SE)


OS Grid Ref: N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Some larger wreckage, including sections of fuselage, wings and engine were recovered from the site by helicopter in the 1980's. Smaller, fragmented sections remain at the crash site, but are widely scattered.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: P5090, coded YG-L


Operator: RAF (502 Squadron, Coastal Command.)


Operating Station: RAF Aldergrove


Station Location: Aldergrove, N. Ireland


Current Station Status: Operational military air base (RAF)


Current Station Name: Joint Helicopter Flying Station Aldergrove (JHC Flying Station Aldergrove).





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