Avro Anson Mk.I DJ222 / A2 of No.10 (O)AFU crashed on Green Gable on the 9th August 1943

Waclaw Panasik Sergeant, PAF Pilot Killed
Erwin Albert Loppe Sergeant, RCAF Bomb Aimer Died of injuries
John Philip Sargent Calder Flying Officer, RCAF Navigator Survived 
Charles Edward Peake  Pilot Officer, RAFVR Navigator Survived 
Geoffrey Montague Chowney Sergeant, RAFVR Wireless Operator Survived


Late in the evening of the 8th August 1943 a number of crews were detailed to fly cross country navigation training flights from RAF Dumfries, for a number of these crews their flights would end in the mountains of Cumbria, some with tragic results.

Crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I DJ222 on Green Gable, Cumbria
The crash site of DJ222 on the summit of Green Gable with the summit cairn and shelter in the background. The small amount of wreckage remaining is in two small scars on the plateau.

The route took these aircraft from Dumfries eastwards to Brampton in Cumbria before turning on to a south westerly course for Douglas on the Isle of Man, a track which took the aircraft close to the northern side of the Lake District mountains. Unfortunately the wind at around 3,000ft was much stronger than forecast and caused DJ222 to begin to stray well to the south of the intended track. Eventually the aircraft was some 13.5 miles south of where it should have been and flying at 2,500ft when it flew into the eastern side of Green Gable at the head of Borrowdale just into the 9th August. The aircraft was destroyed by the crash and its pilot killed. The other members of the crew received varying degrees of injury, Sergeant Loppe being the most seriously injured. He died of the effects of his injuries before reaching hospital.

Crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I DJ222 on Green Gable, Cumbria
This is the crash site with the range from Great End to Sca Fell in the background with a small amount of snow on Scafell Pike.

When DJ222 and two other aircraft failed to return to Dumfries a search began with No.275 Squadron being detailed from RAF Valley to carry out an air search but this was soon stood down when two of the Ansons were located, the third was DJ275 which would be located on the 11th August high on Sca Fell, less than three miles from Green Gable. Mountain Rescue duties fell to personnel from RAF Cark who recovered the crew from Green Gable. Sergeants Panasik and Loppe were taken to Keswick while the three surviving members of the crew were admitted to Fusehill Military Hospital in Carlisle.

Crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I DJ222 on Green Gable, Cumbria
A slightly closer view of the larger of the scars at the crash on Green Gable.

The two who died as a result of the crash were buried in Dumfries, Sgt Loppe in Troqueer Cemetery and Sgt Panasik in St Andrews Catholic Cemetery in the town.

Grave of Sergeant Waclaw Panasik at Dumfries St Andrews Catholic Cemetery, killed aboard Avro Anson Mk.I DJ222 on Green Gable, Cumbria
Sergeant Panasik’s grave at St Andrews Catholic Cemetery in Dumfries
Grave of Sergeant Erwin Albert Loppe at Troqueer Cemetery in Dumfries, died in the crash of Anson DJ222 on Green Gable, Cumrbia
Sergeant Erwin Loppe’s grave at Troqueer Cemetery in Dumfries

Only one of the survivors would live to see the end of the Second World War, both trainee navigators were later killed on operations.

Pilot Officer Charles Peake of Southampton was killed while serving with No.635 Squadron. He was a crew member onboard Lancaster Mk.III ND711 wen it was shot down by a night-fighter on the outward leg of a sortie against Nurnberg on the night of the 30th/31st March 1944. The aircraft crashed near the town of Herschbach between Bonn and Limberg killing all of the crew. They are all now buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery, about 100 miles from the crash site, having originally been buried at Steinen very close to the crash site.

Flying Officer John Calder (by then Flight Lieutenant) who was from Goderich in Ontario died after baling out of Mosquito Mk.XVI ML984 of No.571 Squadron near the port of Brunsbuttel at the mouth of the River Elbe in the early hours of the 21st July 1944. The aircraft was one of the Pathfinder Force for a raid against the city of Hamburg when it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He received injuries to both legs and did not have his life raft when he abandoned the stricken aircraft and would appear to have drowned in the Elbe. His pilot Flight Lieutenant D L Thompson survived and was taken prisoner after also abandoning the aircraft. He is buried at Keil War Cemetery in northern Germany having originally been buried at Brunsbuttelkoog Cemetery until 1947.  According to CWGC records his date of death was originally recorded there as 16th August 1944 so his body may not have been recovered for some time.

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References: No.10 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit ORB, No.1 Staff Pilot Training Unit ORB, RAF Valley ORB, CWGC, Bomber Command Losses 1944