Douglas A-20G Havoc 43-9958, USAAF, flew into the ground close to Flash village between Buxton and Leek during the late afternoon of the 3rd January 1945


Eugene H. Howard 1st Lieutenant Pilot Killed


The aircraft was being ferried by a pilot from the 310th Ferry Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group from Stanstead to Burtonwood. His route was meant to have been Stanstead – Kettering – Leicester – Chester – Burtonwood but the pilot was flying north of this track. At about 16:30 the aircraft was heard approaching the Quarnford area near Flash and while still in cloud ploughed into the hill and disintegrated.

The pilot had had no prior experience on the A-20, but had accumulated nearly 1300 hours flight time, the lack of experience on A-20s was considered as being a possible factor in the crash as another A-20 aircraft had left Stanstead bound for Burtonwood at the same time as 1st Lt Howard. The second aircraft arrived safely.

The crash, and that of Lancaster NF908 only a few miles away which had occurred around 30 minutes earlier, was attended by the Mountain Rescue Team stationed at RAF Harpur Hill on the edge of Buxton. They mistakenly recorded this aircraft as a Douglas Dakota, but given the sheer destruction, obvious Douglas made parts and the presence of 2 engines this was possibly an easy error to make.

Crash site of Douglas A-20G Havoc 43-9958 at Flash near Leek, Staffordshire
This photograph was taken on the 3rd January 2003, on the 58th anniversary of the crash. The aircraft came to rest close to where the photo was taken.
One of the photos in the USAAF accident report is almost the same as the one that I took, this is shown below.
Accident report photograph of the crash site of Douglas A-20G Havoc 43-9958 at Flash near Leek, Staffordshire
One of the photographs from the accident report.
Image Mike Stowe via Mark Sheldon.