Oxford Mk.I EB717 / XT of No.11 (P)AFU RAF crashed on Burbage Edge near Buxton on 12th May 1943 while on a cross country flight from Wheaton Aston around dawn

Airspeed Oxford


During the early hours the 12th May 1943 Sergeant John H. L. Wilson took off in Oxford EB717 for a night cross country flight from Wheaton Aston to the south west of Stafford. His route was to have been Wheaton Aston – Shawbury – Condover – Wheaton Aston, this triangular route was a distance of just over 50 miles. At some point Sgt Wilson became disorientated, whether he missed one of his waypoints or saw one of the other airfields in the area is unknown, and ended up flying North East. As the sun was coming into view the aircraft was seen circling over Buxton, shortly afterwards the aircraft flew west into low cloud and struck a dry stone wall which runs the length of Burbage Edge.  The stone wall destroyed the forward end of the aircraft killing the lone occupant, the aircraft broke up as it travelled across the moor land for another 30 to 40 yards.

The Investigating Officer from No.21 Group concluded that the pilot had set the wrong course on his final leg from Condover back to Wheaton Aston.

Crash site of Airspeed Oxford Mk.I EB717 on Burbage Edge near Buxton, Derbyshire
A view of part of the crash site, the wall the aircraft struck is visible on the left and right hand edges of the photo.
The missing section was destroyed when EB717 ploughed through the wall, today much of the wall has collapsed leaving only a trail of stones across the hill.
At various times a fence has been used to replace the wall, when this photograph was taken in 2001 there was no fence but it has since been put back.