Airspeed Oxford Mk.I LX518 of No.21 (P)AFU crashed on Featherbed Moss, Outer Edge, near Margary Hill 18th October 1943

Airspeed Oxford


Denis Patrick Kyne RNZAF Pilot Officer Pilot Killed


At 20:45pm on the 18th October 1943 P/O Denis Kyne took off from Wheaton Aston, which is between Stafford and Telford, for a solo night cross country navigation flight along with several other aircraft (this was his first solo night flight), all of which were taking different routes.  P/O Denis Kyne was to have flown WSW to Condover then NNE to Shawbury and then ESE to return to Wheaton Aston, a route of a little over 50 miles. Only 5 months before this another Oxford set out from Wheaton Aston on the very same route but in reverse and never returned, this was Oxford EB717 of No.11 (P)AFU.  According to the No.21 (P)AFU ORB at 21:00 P/O Kyne had reported setting course for Condover and nothing further was heard from him.

Alan with wreckage at the crash site of Airspeed Oxford LX518 on Outer Edge, Margary Hill
Alan stood by the remains of LX518 in the summer of 2000.

The weather was rapidly deteriorating and at 21:45pm it was decided to re-call all of the aircraft flying that night, the re-call was acknowledged by all but one of the aircraft, this being LX518.  When the aircraft failed to return by ten past midnight it was reported as overdue, it was known that the aircraft could no-longer be airborne as there was only 2 1/2 hours of fuel onboard, with the hope that P/O Kyne may have landed elsewhere.

Grave of Pilot Officer Denis Patrick Kyne at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery
Denis Kyne’s grave at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.

Five days later on the 23rd October the missing aircraft was found on Margary Hill in the north-east of the Peak District, some 56 miles NNE of Wheaton Aston, it was concluded that P/O Kyne must have become lost shortly after he took off.  He had radioed to say he was proceeding to his first way point which he may have reached and turned towards Shawbury, which had he done so he would have missed as their beacon had failed shortly after 9pm.  After missing the Shawbury beacon P/O Kyne could have continued in a north-easterly direction until he became hopelessly lost.

Following the recovery of his body P/O Kyne was buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, the aircraft’s remains were broken up on site, with the engines being recovered and the remained of the aircraft being destroyed on site and disposed of in the gully which still contains wreckage from the aircraft.  The moor was being used as an artillery range at the time of the crash (probably part of the reason why no-one found the aircraft for 5 days) which caused problems with the recovery.  Work could only be carried out in the short periods between firing times. The No.60 Maintenance Unit ORB had the following to say about the recovery.

“One difficult salvage operation was successfully effected during the month.  An Oxford aircraft LX518 crashed on the artillery range at Langsett near Penistone, in one of the wildest and most inaccessible parts of the Pennines Chain.  Three mobile sections were employed as all the salvageable parts, including the engines had to be sledged across 1 1/2 miles of very rough moorland and bog by manpower to the nearest loading point.  The operation was begun on November 7th and was completed on November 15th despite the fact that it was only possible to work at set times as the range was being used at intervals during the whole period.”

Wreckage at the crash site of Airspeed Oxford Mk.I LX518 on Featherbed Moss, Outer Edge, Margary Hill
Above is a photograph of the remaining wreckage that was left by No.60 MU, this was taken at the end of 2004.