Blackburn Botha Mk.I L6202 / 6-20 of No.11 Radio School crashed on Llwytmor in the Carneddau on the 28th August 1943


George Markham Heppinstall Sergeant Pilot Killed
William Frearson Sergeant Wireless operator / Air gunner Killed
Douglas Owen Hargreaves Sergeant Wireless operator / Air gunner Killed
Wendelin Bernard Bettin Sergeant Wireless operator / Air gunner Killed


No.11 Radio School at Hooton Park was responsible for the training of new wireless operators through a course of ground school and airborne practice. On the 28th August 1943 L6202 was being used for just such an exercise with a staff pilot and three wireless operators. At some point in the flight the aircraft entered cloud off the North Wales coast and without the pilot realising flew inland and struck the western side of Llwytmor above Aber Falls.

When contact was lost and the aircraft failed to return Hooton Park declared the aircraft overdue and the by then well practiced procedure for locating lost aircraft was put into action. On the 29th August the RAF Mountain Rescue Service at Llandwrog were notified that the aircraft was believed to have been lost in the area to the North of Capel Curig and East of Bethesda.

The MRS travelled to Tal-y-Bont in the Conwy valley to begin their search in the area around Llyn Eigiau and Melynllyn, their progress was slowed by damage to the track up to Mellynllyn resulting in the vehicles being left short of the hut that was normally used as a mountain base for searches. The search began at 21:00 and was called off at about midnight and recommenced 5 hours later with assistance from a No.43 Maintenance Unit detachment at Capel Curig. The search contiued with the higher ground of the Carneddau being searched.

It was not until the early afternoon of the 31st that Hooton Park informed Llandwrog that the wreck had been sighted by an aerial search to the north of the existing search area. The MRS immediately set out for the area and upon arrival found that No.43 MU had already located the crashed aircraft. Arrangements were then made for a fresh party of men to return on the 1st September to recover the bodies of the crew via the track in the Anafon valley.

Sergeant George Markham Heppinstall, pilot of Botha L6202
Above is a photograph of the Pilot Sgt George M. Heppinstall.
Image: Nancy Wheldon via David Earl
Bristol Perseus engine in Afon Goch near Aber Falls, below the crash site of Blackburn Botha L6202 on Llwytmor
The lowest wreckage from the aircraft is one of its two Bristol Perseus engines lying in Afon Goch close to the path from Aber Falls.
Wreckage at the crash site of Blackburn Botha L6202 on Llwytmor
The other engine is wedged in between two rocks close to where the aircraft crashed.
Bristol Perseus engine at the crash site on Llwytmor of Blackburn Botha L6202
Another view of the second engine.
Wreckage at the crash site of Blackburn Botah L6202 on Llwytmor, Snowdonia
This photo was taken from where the aircraft crashed, wreckage is piled up in three main collections, one is in the centre of the photo, the others are above and below it.
Wreckage at the crash site of Blackburn Botah L6202 on Llwytmor, Snowdonia
This is the larger of the collections of wreckage at the crash site shown in the previous photograph.

Most of the crew were returned to their families for burial, however Sergeant Bettin, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, was taken to Chester (Blacon) Cemetery for burial

Grave of Sergeant Wendelin Bernard Bettin, RCAF, at Chester Blacon Cemetery
Sergeant Wendelin Bettin’s grave at Chester Blacon Cemetery