Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Armstrong Whitworth AW.38 Whitley / Z9156
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 However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.
The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945.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Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command.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 Z9156 of 19 OTU took off from Kinloss at 1827hrs on a night navigation sortie. At 2316hrs messages were exchanged with Renfrew.
Whilst flying at 8,000 feet, 30 mins later, the port engine failed. All the crew bailed out. The pilot, Sgt A R Kelner, suffered a broken ankle. Sadly, the rear gunner died after bailing out.
The pilot, and other crew members then managed to make their way to the nearby steading of Relaquhiem. There, the sole occupant of this croft provided them with directions to find help.
On the 10th of February the Whitley was found 1 mile NNW of Edinglassie [in Glen Ernan]. Apart from a smashed undercarriage the aircraft was not damaged.
Aircraft Crew Casualty / Survivors
The crew member who died was:
Sgt Bellis' body was found on the 16 March 1943.
(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website).
The remaining crew survived. These were:
Sgt A R Kelner, Pilot.
[Most of the information in the above two Panels was kindly provided by Alan Leishman.]
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 9 Feb 1943
Nearest road: A939 or A944.
Nearest town, village or hamlet:
Nearest large town or city: Aberdeen (E).
OS Grid Ref. N/A
GPS Ref. N/A
Present Condition: RAF recovery teams removed the bulk of the wreckage. Any remaining wreckage status is unknown.
Registration or Serial: Z9156
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.
Crash Location Links
Description and map of Edinglassie House at Scotland's Places.
Layout and map of Relaquhiem at Scotland's Places.
RAF and Related Links
RAF Armstrong Whitworth Whitley (History).
Hill Walking Links
(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)
Hillwalking (The Scottish Mountaineering Club)
Hillwalking.org.uk (Equipment, etc.)
Mountain Guides (Routes, maps, advice and guidance compiled by Steven Fallon)
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WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)
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Emergency Services Link
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.
A.W. Whitley Z9156
Relaquheim, Glen Ernan, Aberdeens.