Airspeed Oxford Mk.I BM837 of No.410 Squadron, RCAF, crashed on Winter Hill near Bolton on the 24th December 1943

Airspeed Oxford


Martin Anthony Cybulski D.F.C. Flight Lieutenant (A), RCAF Pilot Injured


Flt Lt Cybulski appeared in the famous photograph of Mosquito DZ757, RA-Q, with most of the canvas burnt off the aircraft and no rudder. This occured when he attacked a Do217 which exploded immediately ahead of the Mosquito. Both he and his Navigator were awarded the D.F.C.

The citation which appeared in the London Gazette on the 9th November 1943 is as follows:

“Acting Flight Lieutenant Martin Anthony CYBULSKI / (Can/J. 15807), Royal Canadian Air Force, No. 410 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron.

Flying Officer Harold Herbert LADBROOK (139394), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 410 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron.

As pilot and observer respectively, these officers have taken part in numerous sorties, involving attacks on rail installations, locomotives -and various other targets. During a sortie one night in September, 1943, they attacked a Dornier 217 at close range. Following a well directed ‘burst of fire, the enemy aircraft exploded in the air. Flight Lieutenant Cybulski was temporarily blinded by the explosion and the aircraft went into a steep dive. Flying Officer Ladbrook resourcefully regained control, however, and afterwards, Flight Lieutenant Cybulski, who had quickly recovered, flew the aircraft to base. These officers have invariably displayed great skill and tenacity.”

Flight Lieutenant Cybulski had completed his operational tour with No.410 Squadron and had taken the unit’s Airspeed Oxford to report to the Headquarters of No.9 Group near Preston. His flight began at Acklington in Northumberland, the closest RAF station to HQ No.9 Group was Woodvale near Southport, while not openly stated as his destination it is almost certain that this was where he was heading to when he flew into the eastern side of Winter Hill just below its summit. The aircraft was badly damaged and Flt Lt Cybulski seriously injured. Afterwards the remains were burnt by the recovery team, with only a few small pieces being left behind.

Crash site of Airspeed Oxford BM837 on Winter Hill, Bolton, Lancashire
Today very little of the aircraft remains at the crash site on Winter Hill, though during our visit with Nick Wotherspoon (who had visited the site in the early 1980s) we did find numerous small items, including some which proved the crash site was that of an Oxford.