Short Stirling Mk.III EE975 of No.1660 HCU crashed on Old Cote Moor on the 14th August 1944 after two engines overheated and had to be shut down on a night cross country flight from RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire


Donald McFarlane Bowe Pilot Officer RAAF Pilot Killed
Robert James Douglas Flight Sergeant RAAF Navigator Killed
Cornelius Patrick O’Neil Flight Sergeant RAAF Bomb Aimer OK
George Ivan Maloney Flight Sergeant RAAF Wireless Operator OK
Clarence Mervyn Davies Sergeant RAFVR Air Gunner Injured
Ian Kennedy Frazer Sergeant RAFVR Flight Engineer OK
Francis Gordon Nelson Sergeant RAFVR Flight Engineer OK


“The aircraft was on a night cross country at about 8000 feet. The first engineer reports feathering the port outer as the cylinder head temp was dropping right off and the pilot reported a loss of power, and a short while later, doing likewise with the starboard outer as it was suffering from the same trouble. The pilot tried to maintain height, but decided to bale out his crew at about 4500 feet. Apparently, the pilot and navigator did not get out and were killed. The accident is the subject of an investigation.”

All of the crew, with the possible exception of Flight Sergeant Bowe had baled out. Flight Sergeant Douglas was killed because, unfortunately, he jumped from low level over the summit of Firth Fell and hit the 1600ft summit before he could open his parachute.

While Donald Bowe is recorded as a Pilot Officer, records written at the time of the crash show he was at the rank of Flight Sergeant, but had been appointed to the rank of Pilot Officer with effect from the 10th August 1944.

Wreckage at the crash site of Stirling EE975 on Old Cote Moor, Littondale, Yorkshire
Parts from EE975 are scattered around where it fell on Old Cote Moor a couple of collections.
Grave of Pilot Officer Donald McFarlane Bowe at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery
The two airmen who were killed in the accident were buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, above is Pilot Officer Donald Bowe’s grave.
Grave of Flight Sergeant Robert James Douglas at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery
Grave of Flight Sergeant Robert James Douglas at Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery