Avro Lancaster Mk.III PB456 / SR-D of No.101 Squadron RAF
Crashed on Conic Hill near the southern end of Loch Lomond on the 13th September 1944
|Clare Edward Brooks RCAF||Flying Officer||Pilot||Killed|
|Francis Alfred William Blerkom||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||Killed|
|Lloyd George Peardon RCAF||Flying Officer||Air Bomber||Killed|
|Victor Jack Ward||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator||Killed|
|John Ridley Stokes RCAF||Sergeant||Air Gunner||Killed|
|James Watt RCAF||Sergeant||Air Gunner||Killed|
The crew were on a cross country training flight from Ludford Magna near Market Rasen, the route was just over 800 miles Base – Scunthorpe – Stirling – Huntly – Inverary – Mull of Kintyre – Carlisle – Scunthorpe – Base. They had been briefed to climb to 20,000ft by the time they reached Stirling and were on the leg South West from Huntly when the aircraft dived into the ground close to Conic Hill above Loch Lomond. The crash site lies more than 20 miles of the track from Huntly to Inverary, but is only 4 miles from the direct track to the Mull of Kintyre, so it is possible that the crew were intending to avoid the minor course alteration over Inverary. Before impact the aircraft had broken up with the forward and rear fuselage, tailplanes, outer wings and outer engines separating from the main body of the aircraft. The outer wings and tailplanes landed some distance from the crash site but the fuselage sections and engines landed much closer to the site.
This flight was the first made by Flying Officer Brooks with No.101 Squadron, and the aircraft had only flown 29 hours at the time of its loss. Slight icing in cloud tops was reported by another pilot flying the same route at about the same time and he reported only slight icing, which had not affected the characteristics of his aircraft, other than a slight drop in boost pressure.
Despite being investigated by the Accident Investigation Branch the cause of the crash was not determined. Beyond the aircraft had entered a steep dive while flying at or close to its briefed height and subsequently broken up, possibly as a result of the pilot’s efforts to recover the aircraft from that dive.