Avro Anson Mk.I N9589 of No.4 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit crashed on Cairnsmore of Fleet near Newton Stewart on the 12th June 1944
|William Anthony Edwards||Sergeant||Pilot||Killed|
|Horace William George Rennison||Sergeant||Navigator (u/t)||Killed|
|Robert Charles Beggs||Sergeant RNZAF||Bomb Aimer (u/t)||Killed|
|Barnard Benson Hayton||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner (Inst)||Killed|
|Archibald William Wauchope||Flight Sergeant RAAF||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner (u/t)||Killed|
On the 12th June 1944 the crew of N9589 were brief for a night navigation exercise from their home station at West Feugh near Stranraer. The route was to be West Freugh – St Bees Head – Annan – Castle Douglas – Kirkcudbright – Peel – Whithorn – West Freugh, a distance of just over 240 miles. It also included infra-red bombing practice at Castle Douglas, Bride on the Isle of Man and Whithorn. These exercises worked by the aircraft carrying a camera loaded with IR sensitive film, this was exposed by the bomb aimer at the point where he would normally release the bomb load. A ground unit would have set up an infra-red light at the target and the beam from this light would be, if the target had been correctly located, recorded on the film.
They took off from West Freugh at 01:20, their last radio message was received by Wigtown at 02:19 and their direction from there was recorded as 068o, at this point they were probably on the Annan to Castle Douglas leg though to record a QTE of 068o the aircraft was off course, either having overshot Castle Douglas or flying too far north. At some point after this while flying west the aircraft struck the precipitous crags around the Spout of the Clints waterfall on the eastern face of Cairnsmore of Fleet. The wreckage cascaded back down the mountain landing at the foot of the cliffs.
A search for the aircraft soon was soon concentrated on the area around Cairnsmore, the mountain rescue unit from Wigtown set out to search the hill from Bardrochwood Farm at 18:45 on the 13th June, an air search had had to be abandoned due to low cloud. Later that evening the crash site was located on the opposite side of the mountain, they loaded the bodies of the crew onto the sledges they had hauled to the site and set off back over the mountain. However their progress was slow and by 01:00 on the 14th in complete darkness and low cloud they abandoned the sledges on the mountain for a relief party to recover later on the 14th. The first team, who were completely fatigued, finally arrived at Wigtown at 03:45. The relief party set out at 07:00 and returned at 11:30.
On the 15th four of the bodies were sent by rail to their home towns for burial, Sgt Wauchope was buried at Stoneykirk Cemetery near West Freugh on the 18th June.
Just over 2 years before this crash, another Anson had crashed a short distance away at the northern end of the cliffs. That was W2630 of No.1 AOS.