Unidentified Beech AT-7 crashed on the Old Man of Coniston on the 14th October 1942


George Werner Bransom Mr Pilot Killed
Osborne Roy Keith Mr Co-pilot Killed
George Bevil Grenfell Flying Officer, RAFVR Passenger Killed


The number of Beech Model 18 aircraft in the UK was always low, and this aircraft would have been either the first or one of the first of the type to enter the UK when it arrived during 1942. The exact purpose for it being in the UK is unknown though it would appear it was used during a visit to numerous air stations by representatives of the US Army Air Force.

By mid October the aircraft was at RAF Ayr and was to be ferried to Hendon by two American employees of Lockheed who were normally employed test flying aircraft which had been imported into the UK. For some time they had been testing and ferrying Hudsons which were on delivery to the RAF.

On the 13th October Bransom arrived back at Ayr along with another Lockheed test pilot in a pair of Bell Airacobras. The following morning he along with Mr Keith were to ferry the Beech AT-7 to Hendon on behalf of the US Government/Military, at the same time two officers from RAF Ayr needed to travel to other air stations and arranged to travel as passengers. The first of these was Flight Lieutenant Gibson, the Sector Intelligence Officer, who was travelling to Limavady in Northern Ireland. On the 14th his travel plans were changed and he was unable to travel to Northern Ireland. The other officer was Flying Officer Grenfell who was the Controller (Operations) at Ayr, he was travelling to London so went as a passenger.

The route which was to be followed is not recorded in any documents which we have been able access, however it is likely that the two pilots were going to follow to the coast before taking a track towards London from a way point such as Burtonwood. At some point the aircraft drifted to the east of this track and from the position of the crash site had been turned towards the west before flying into the eastern side of the Old Man of Coniston killing the three occupants of the aircraft.

Following the crash the victims were recovered from the crash site by a party from No.2 Air Observer School at Millom. The two American victims were cremated at Liverpool Crematorium on the 20th October after which their remains were returned to the United States. F/O Grenfell was buried at Lane End in Buckinghamshire.

Wreckage at the crash site of Beech AT-7 on the Old Man of Coniston
Little remains at the crash site, these are some of the small pieces which were at the site when we visited it with Richard Allenby and Ade Harris in 2014.
Wreckage at the crash site of Beech AT-7 on the Old Man of Coniston
One of the small pieces which still bears a part number.
Wreckage at the crash site of Beech AT-7 on the Old Man of Coniston
Structural parts and engine push rods at the crash site.