Avro Anson Mk.I AX177 of No.1 (O)AFU crashed on Cronk ny Arrey Laa on the 13th November 1944


Hugh Eugene McDonald Flight Sergeant RCAF Pilot Killed
Charles Alfred Bardwell Flying Officer RCAF Navigator Killed
John Darlington Pilot Officer RAFVR Air Bomber Killed
Percy Henry Hoyle Flying Officer RAFVR Wireless Operator (Instructor) Killed
John David Pratt Flight Sergeant RAAF Wireless Operator (Pupil) Killed


The aircraft was on a night navigation exercise from Wigtown in southern Scotland, the aircraft’s route was to be from Wigtown to Eggerness Point > Whithorn > Ballyquinton Point > Bardsey Light > Chicken Rock > Port St. Mary > Ballyquinton Point and return to Wigtown.  The first two points were within ten miles of Wigtown airfield.  Ballyquinton Point stands at the mouth of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, Bardsey Light is on Bardsey Island off the Lleyn Peninsular.  Chicken Rock is off the southern tip of the Isle of Man.

The aircraft had reached the Isle of Man and the crew decided to return directly to Wigtown and set course for there.  The court of inquiry concluded that while near Ronaldsway the pilot had climbed from his briefed altitude of 2000ft to 3000ft in order to avoid high ground on the direct route back to Wigtown.  This change in altitude took the aircraft into icing conditions, this would have caused ice build up on the aircraft.

The presiding officer suggested that when icing was experienced the pilot most likely turned back towards Ronaldsway, to avoid the high ground, while descending out of cloud at the same time.  The aircraft was flying south east at the time of the crash  and had possibly descended too quickly.

The aircraft flew into the north western end of Cronk ny Arrey Laa while in a steep climb, possibly attempting to avoid the hill.

Crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I AX177 on Cronk ny Arrey Laa
Nothing of any size remains at the site today, a recovery was carried out my members of the Manx Aviation Preservation Society a number of years ago which removed almost all the remaining wreckage. This is on display at the M.A.P.S. museum at Ronaldsway. The aircraft crashed close to the junction of the walls shown in the photograph above.


Three of the five crew who were killed in AX177 were buried at Jurby Churchyard near the principle RAF station on the island. They were:

Grave of Flight Sergeant Hugh Eugene McDonald at Jurby churchyard
Pilot, Flight Sergeant H. E. McDonald
Grave of Flying Officer Charles Alfred Bardwell at Jurby churchyard
Navigator, Flying Officer C. A. Bardwell
Grave of Flight Sergeant John David Pratt at Jurby churchyard
Wireless Operator, Flight Sergeant J. D. Pratt