Handley Page Halifax Mk.II DT581 / MH-Y of No.51 Squadron RAF crashed on Hoar Side Moor, Todmorden, on the 21st January 1943


Richard Donovan Getliffe Pilot Officer Pilot Injured
Alexander Campbell Sergeant Flight Engineer Injured
Edward Burt Chatfield Pilot Officer Navigator Injured
Allan Campbell Sergeant Air Bomber Killed
George Hugh Whyte Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air gunner Killed
John James Merritt Sergeant Air Gunner Injured
Reginald Ernest Smart Sergeant Air Gunner Injured


The crew had taken off from their base at Snaith near Selby to drop two mines (an A.108 and B.200 type) into the sea in the ‘Nectarines’ area of the North Sea, this was around the Frisian Islands. The crew had been briefed to fly from base to the Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast before setting course direct for the Frisian Is. and then returning via the same route. On returning they over-shot their base and continued westwards. The aircraft eventually struck a drystone wall on the edge of Hoar Side Moor and slid to a halt where it burned out.

Of the surviving crew members Alexander Campbell and John Merritt were both killed, Campbell when Halifax Mk.II W7861 was lost without trace during a sortie against Hamburg on the night of the 3rd / 4th March 1943 and Merritt when Halifax Mk.II DT666 crashed at Carlton near to Snaith while returning from operations against Essen on the 3rd / 4th April 1943. Both were still flying with No.51 Squadron.

Wreckage at the crash site of Halifax DT581 on Hoar Side Moor, Todmorden, Yorkshire
Very little is left now where the aircraft burnt out, there are just these two sheets of armour plate and some very corroded fragments.
The stone wall that was hit was, in 2003, still missing a significant section that had been demolished 60 years earlier.