Westland Lysander Mk.II P1693 of No.613 Sqn, RAF, crashed during a forced landing at Ashgate near Chesterfield on the 15th November 1940

Westland Lysander at the Royal Air Force Museum

Gerald Benjamin Hawes Flying Officer Pilot Survived
Gordon Frederick Holland Corporal Passenger Survived


The pilot took off from Sywell near Northampton in good weather conditions bound for Firbeck in South Yorkshire between Worksop and Rotherham where No.613 Squadron were based at the time while they carried out training of glider pilots.

While approaching the Nottingham area a film of oil which sprayed from the engine formed on the aircraft’s windows preventing the pilot from seeing out. This was made worse by a deterioration in weather conditions in the north east Midlands with visibility continuously decreasing. Knowing roughly where he was F/O Hawes attempted to locate RAF Hucknall close to the city of Nottingham but eventually was forced land the aircraft in a field at 16:30.

After touching down in a large field on the western edge of Chesterfield the aircraft ran into a ridge which ran across it. This ridge was not visible from the air and causing the aircraft to overturn causing significant damage to the air frame. F/O Hawes was not injured by this but his passenger received a head and back injury which led to him being admitted to hospital in Chesterfield.

Flying Officer Hawes would later resign his commission in January 1944, while Cpl Holland would receive a commission in 1949 in the Equipment Branch of the RAF.