A.W. Whitley N1498

Carn a' Chóire Mhoir, Highland

 
     
 
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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 / N1498

 

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 However, from the Whitley Mk IV, these were superseded by the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin X piston engines.

 

The Whitley bomber entered service with the RAF in 1937 and was withdrawn in 1945.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Due to heavy losses and the introduction of more powerful 4-engine bombers, the Whitley was withdrawn from front-line service and allocated to Coastal Command.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

 

This Whitley bomber from 19 OTU was operating out of RAF Kinloss on a training flight. On board, were a crew of seven, including an instructor. This was one more crew member than normal for this type of aircraft. However, this should not have presented any problems as the aircraft would not have been loaded with its full complement of bombs.

 

During the training mission, however, the aircraft crashed into the snow covered hills not far from the summit of Carn a Chóire Mhoir. The Whitley caught fire on impact with the ground.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew Casualties

 

Of the seven crew on board, four were killed and three survived. Those who died were:

  • P/O John Graham Castling (Pilot / NZ-41875)
  • P/O John G. Irvine (Pilot)
  • Sgt Cecil S. George (Pilot / Instructor)
  • Sgt Cyril W. Green (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner)

Pilot Officer John G. Castling died at Tomatin House on 6 January 1942. He was laid to rest at Kinloss Abbey Burial Ground in Moray, Scotland (Grave 22 Row A).

 

Those who were injured but who survived were:

 

Sgt D. Pike

Sgt E. F. J. Kane

Sgt E. M. Edgehill

 


 

Aircrew Monument

 

BELOW: Situated close to the scene of the accident, this monument commemorates the names of those airmen who lost their lives in this tragic accident. A small piece of wreckage lies at the base of the pillar.

 

memorial cairn and plaque at crash site

 

Photo: © 2008 Steven Spink

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

Whitley Wing Recovery Operation

 

The following photos were taken in 2003 during recovery of aircraft parts. The recovered wreckage, including wing, centre section, and fragments of nose was transported by road to Midland Aircraft Recovery Group Projects.

 

 

BELOW: On the upper slopes of Carn a' Chóire Mhoir, a caterpillar-tracked hydraulic hoist gently eases part of the Whitley's wing out of the ground.

 

whitley wing lift from pit in ground by caterpillar hydraulic hoist

 

Photo: © 2008 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: Safely extracted from the peaty moorland, the recovered Whitley wing section is about to be moved to the road transporter loading point.

 

the whitley wing extracted from ground and ready for moving to road transporter

 

Photo: © 2008 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: The recovered Whitley wing is now ready for loading onto the road transporter to begin its journey to the Midlands.

 

whitley wing now ready for transporting to Midlands

 

Photo: © 2008 Steven Spink

 

 


 

 

Photo Gallery

 

At the moment, there are no additional photos for this crash site in the Photo Gallery.

 

 


 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

Accident Date: 6 Jan 1942

 

Accident Site:

Carn a' Chóire Mhoir(627m)

(crash site close to summit)

 

Region: Highland

 

Nearest town or village:

Balvraid near Tomatin.

 

Nearest large town or city:

Inverness (NW) or Aviemore (S)

 

OS Grid Ref. NH 844 289 (trig pillar close to memorial pillar)

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: Until 2003, some parts of the fuselage, landing gear and wings remained onsite. However, these have since been removed and only a few fragmented parts now remain at the site.

 

The largest remaining piece of wreckage (part of the fuselage) is on display at Midland Air Museum, Baginton, Coventry, England.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

Registration or Serial: N1498

 

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

 

Operating Base: RAF Kinloss / RAF Forres (satellite of Kinloss)

 

Base Location (RAF Kinloss): Forres, Morayshire. Three miles from Forres; 12 miles from Elgin; 27 miles from Inverness, Scotland.

 

Current Airport Status: Operational Military Airport.

 

Current Airport Name: RAF Kinloss (EGQK)

 

 

 

 

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