Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV Z7646 of No.18 Maintenance Unit crashed on Bowbeat Hill near Peebles on the 30th July 1941
|Elijah Henson||Pilot Officer||Pilot||Killed|
No.18 Maintenance Unit were stationed at RAF Dumfries where they prepared aircraft for active service, they had large numbers of aircraft on charge at any one time and so stored them on a number of satellite landing grounds within easy reach of Dumfries. One of these was at Lennoxlove near Haddington in East Lothian and on the 30th July 1941 Pilot Officer Henson was tasked to ferry a Blenheim which was stored there to Dumfries. He took off from Lennoxlove at around midday on the 30th and headed for Dumfries, a distance of about 66 miles, but failed to arrive and was declared overdue. Three aircraft were sent from Dumfries to fly the route that P/O Henson was expected to have taken but they saw nothing, at the same time the Police and Royal Observer Corps in Moffat, Peebles and Galashiels were notified that an aircraft was missing.
The search continued from the air on the 31st July, but again nothing was seen due to poor weather over the high ground between Haddington and Dumfries. On the 1st August another of the pilots from Dumfries, Sergeant Petford, flying the Unit’s Dominie on the same route spotted aircraft wreckage in the Moorfoot Hills near Peebles. On landing he reported this and the Police at Innerleithen were notified, they sent a search party out which soon found the wreckage and confirmed that it was the missing Blenheim and that P/O Henson had been killed in the crash.
The Engineering Officer of No.18 MU along with Sgt Petford and the Medical Officer and orderlies from No.10 B&GS were sent to Innerleithen by road, they returned to Dumfries with P/O Henson’s body on the 2nd August. His funeral was held at Troqueer Church in Dumfries on the 4th August, attended by his family and personnel from No.18 MU & No.10 B&GS.