Airspeed Oxford Mk.I HN594 of No.21 (P)AFU crashed on Brown Knoll between Chinley and Edale 28th December 1945 while on a map reading exercise from RAF Seighford
|Edgar Croker||Flying Officer||Pilot (u/t)||Injured|
|John Downthwaite||Flying Officer||Pilot (u/t)||Injured|
|George Robinson||Warrant Officer||Instructor||Injured|
One of the two pilots, Ted Croker, went on in life to play football for Charlton Athletic, who he was already playing for in 1945, and be Chief Executive of the FA until his death in 1992.
On a cold and wet December afternoon the crew of HN594 set out on a map reading exercise from RAF Seighford near Stafford, the two pilots had carried out their flying training in the more favourable climate of South Africa and were being tested on their map reading in the dark and cloudy skies of the British Winter. After having flown the first leg with F/O Downthwaite as pilot F/O Croker was to take over control of the aircraft, at this point they were approaching the Pennines and the hills near by had their summits enveloped in cloud. As the aircraft was flying low to maintain sight of the ground (roughly 1,000ft) F/O Croker knew they would have to climb to avoid the hills which they were about to cross, he made F/O Downthwaite aware that they should start to climb but the aircraft was not responding very well due to icing conditions. While climbing slowly through cloud the aircraft ploughed into the summit of Brown Knoll breaking up over about 50 yards, F/O Croker who was standing between F/O Downthwaite and WO Robinson was thrown through the fabric & plywood structure landing some distance ahead of the aircraft.
Despite being thrown from the aircraft, as the least injured member of the crew, F/O Croker went for help after first wrapping the two other crew in their parachutes to keep them warm on what turned out to be a record cold day and then night, reaching what at the time was a youth hostel after some three hours of crawling, he knocked on the door of the farm house next door to it and the alarm was raised. It was the following day before the wreck and the other two airmen were found, they were carried off the moor on stretchers.