Airspeed Oxford Mk.I L4597 of No.4 Ferry Pilots’ Pool, force landed on Loch Laidon to the west of Rannoch on the 2nd March 1942

Airspeed Oxford


William Silver Edgar 1st Officer, ATA Pilot Survived


The pilot was ferrying the aircraft to No.45 Maintenance Unit at RAF Kinloss from Cambridge in poor weather. While over Rannoch Moor the starboard engine of the aircraft failed, unable to maintain height 1st Off. Edgar force landed the aircraft on the frozen surface of Loch Laidon, it only coming to a halt once it reached the shoreline on the southern edge of the loch where the aircraft caught fire and was reduced to ashes.

First Officer Edgar made his way off the moor, reportedly arriving the following day at Rannoch station.

Only a month later on the 2nd April 1942, while flying Spitfire Mk.Vb BM358 from Prestwick to Kinloss, 1st Off. Edgar was killed when the aircraft crashed in Aberdeenshire. As an American citizen he was subsequently buried in the American Cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge.

During 1978 the two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah engines from L4597 were recovered by the Scotland West Aircraft Investigation Group using a raft. Subsequently the engines were restored by staff at Rolls Royce’s Hillington site. At least one of them was subsequently put on display at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.

Crash site of Airspeed Oxford L4597 beside Loch Laidon, Rannoch Moor
Virtually nothing remains at this crash site, despite its remote location on the southern shore of Loch Laidon.
This view is looking west towards Clach Leathad / Meall a Bhuiridh (Left) and Buchaille Etive Mor (Centre).
Wreckage from Airspeed Oxford L4597 beside Loch Laidon, Rannoch Moor
This folded up panel was the largest piece at the site, in the sand are other smaller pieces, mostly rusted steel tubing and burnt aluminium.