Supermarine Spitfire F.R. Mk.14 NM814 or No.611 (West Lancashire) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, crash on Coldbergh Edge near Keld in Swaledale on the 3rd July 1948

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV


Peter Geldart Flying Officer Pilot Injured


The pilot was flying with two other aircraft that day from 611 Sqn’s home base of Woodvale to Morpeth and back on a cross country navigation exercise.  The flight quickly ran into poor weather and two of the three aircraft returned to Woodvale.  Flying Officer Geldart continued with the flight but encountered turbulence over the hills and lost control of the aircraft.  He baled out of the Spitfire which then dived into the ground leaving a large crater, on landing he sprained one of his ankles but was otherwise uninjured.

Soon after the crash was reported RAF Mountain Rescue teams set out to locate the pilot, they were called from as far away as No.28 MU at Harpur Hill near Buxton. By the time this team arrived the pilot have been located and crash site secured and were ordered to return to base.

Wreckage at the crash site of Supermarine Spitfire NM814 on Coldbergh Edge, Keld, Yorkshire
The crater in the background of the shot and exposed shale in the foreground are remnants of the crash and dig in the late 1980s which saw the recovery of over 2 tons of wreckage, complete with the aircraft’s engine. Though this would not have been complete judging by the number of small fragments of engine casing we found at the site.
Wreckage at the crash site of Supermarine Spitfire F.R. Mk.14 NM814 on Coldbergh Edge, Keld, Yorkshire
A small collection of bits is all that really distinguishes the area as a crash site, the two longer pieces are both from one of the aircraft’s wings, the right hand from close to a cannon mount as it is identical in design to a part from a spar near to a cannon mount recovered at an excavation of a Mk.Vb I attended.