B-17G 44-8683 of the 388th Bombardment Group, USAAF, crashed on Great Whernside near Kettlewell 17th May 1945


Harry J. Cole 1st Lieutenant Pilot Killed
Vance Lamar Ferguson 2nd Lieutenant Co-pilot Killed
James M. Young 2nd Lieutenant Navigator Killed
Hoyt E. Dixon Sergeant Flight Engineer Killed
Dario Battista Sergeant Radio Operator Killed


Following the end of the war in Europe many units were winding down or in some cases preparing to move to the Far East where the war was continuing against Japan. Many of the aircrew who were going to be re-deployed continued with normal routine training flights.

The crew of 44-8683 were on one such training flight, they were flying a triangular route of just over 900 miles that was to have taken them from their base at Knettishall in Suffolk to Newcastle upon Tyne, then onwards to Land’s End before returning to Knettishall. It is thought that while flying over the Pennines on the leg from Newcastle to Land’s End the pilots had seen poor weather ahead of them and opted to return to Knettishall. This took them on a South Easterly course across the Yorkshire Dales, and while flying in that direction the aircraft struck the southern end of Great Whernside near the village of Kettlewell and disintegrated across the slope killing the 5 crew members.

This aircraft crashed close to where Halifax DT578 had crashed in 1943 while Mosquito RL197 crashed further North in 1948.

Wreckage below the crash site of B-17G 44-8683 on Greath Whernside, North Yorkshire.
The small remains of 44-8683 lie below where it flew into Great Whernside.
A small scar remains where the port wing first struck the ground and a few pieces of wreckage lie in the grass which surrounds that spot.

Four of the crew were buried at the American Military Cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge, they were:

Grave of 1st Lieutenant Harry J. Cole at Cambridge American Military Cemetery
1st Lieutenant Harry J. Cole, Pilot
Grave of 2nd Lieutenant James M. Young at Cambridge American Cemetery
2nd Lieutenant James M. Young, Navigator
Grave of Sergeant Hoyt E. Dixon at Cambridge American Military Cemetery
Sergeant Hoyt E. Dixon, Engineer
Grave of Sergeant Dario Battista at Cambridge American Military Cemetery
Sergeant Dario Battista, Radio Operator