A.W. Whitley Z6933/Z

Finalty Hill, Glen Isla, Angus













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An A.W. Whitley Mk.V. This is the variant featured on this page.


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 Mk.V / Z6933/Z



(Click here for RAF history of this type)


Aircraft Type Designation: AW.38 (Medium-heavy 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 However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.


The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945.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Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command.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


A. W. Whitley Z6933 was on a night training mission from RAF Kinloss. However, during the exercise, the aircraft crashed at Finalty Hill [map] in Angus.


The Whitley aircraft crashed during the night of 23 / 24 March 1942, but the wreckage remained undiscovered for over two months.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


Those who died in this incident were:

  • P/O Robert Eric Wheatley (28) (110568) DFM, Pilot, RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Joint Grave 65, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  • P/O Ronald Renshaw Flint (24 ) (111936), Obs., RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Joint Grave 65, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  •  Sgt Donald Frank Drake (24) (R/88694), Pilot, RCAF.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Grave 67, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  • Sgt George Kenneth MacRae (R/72714), Pilot, RCAF.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Coll. Grave 66, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  • Sgt Frank Jennings (20) (994287), W.op. / Air Gnr., RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Grave 68, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  • Sgt Alan Blackman (20) (917077), W.op. / Air Gnr., RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Coll. Grave 66, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)

  • Sgt Jack Sutcliffe (29) (1060163), W.op / Air Gnr., RAFVR.
    (Buried, Section 7, Class C, Coll. Grave 66, Montrose (Sleepyhillock) Cemetery, Angus.)


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






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Part of Whitley Z6933 debris field on Finalty Hill, Angus.


part of whitley debris field on finalty hill angus


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Spars and aluminium skinning from the Whitley aircraft.


spars and aluminium skinning from the whitley aircraft


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Aluminium plating from the airframe.


aluminium plating from the airframe


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel





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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 23 / 24 Mar 1942


Accident Site:

Finalty Hill (905m) [map].

(Upper Glen Isla / Glen Doll / Glen Clova.)


Nearest roads: B951 (via Glen Isla) or B955 (via Glen Clova).


Region: Angus


Nearest town or village:

 Alyth (S).


Nearest larger towns:

Blairgowrie (S) or Kirriemuir (SE).


Crash site OS Grid Ref. N/A


Crash site GPS Ref. N/A


Present Condition:

Some wreckage sections remain. Other parts recovered some years ago for Whitley reconstruction project.





Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: Z6933/Z


Operator: RAF (19 Operational Training Unit (19 OTU)).


Operating Station: RAF Kinloss (now, Kinloss Barracks).


Satellite Station for RAF Kinloss: RAF Forres (or Balnageith).


Station Location: (RAF Kinloss) Kinloss, Moray.


Current Airport Status:

RAF operations ceased in 2012. Now, Kinloss (Army) Barracks.



(Note: Following the closure of RAF Leuchars in 2013, RAF Lossiemouth (near Kinloss) will be the only remaining operational RAF Station in Scotland.)





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