Whitley Mk.V P4996 of No.78 Squadron RAF, crashed in Glen Carron on the 27th February 1941


Gerald Thomas Toland Wing Commander Pilot Killed
Donald Henry Gates Pilot Officer Observer Killed
George Alexander Forsyth Sergeant Pilot Killed
George Russel Armstrong Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air gunner Killed
Norman Leslie Lane Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Killed


The crew had participated in a raid against the German city of Köln, having taken off from their home station of Dishforth in North Yorkshire. While returning from the raid they became lost and strayed a long way to the north of their intended route. At around the time the aircraft crashed a flare was seen, it was presumed that this was dropped from the aircraft. Shortly afterwards while flying at between 2,500 and 3,000 feet the aircraft struck Sgurr nan Ceannaichean scattering wreckage over a large area of the northern western face of the mountain.

The following morning local Police officers reached the site and confirmed that it was a British aircraft which had crashed and all of the crew killed. They then notified RAF Evanton near Dingwall who carried out the recovery of the five crew. Clearing of the wreckage was assigned to No.63 Maintenance Unit at Carluke in Lanarkshire.

Upper extent of the wreckage trail on Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, crash site of Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P4996
Very little of the aircraft remains today, but what does is spread over about 1.5 miles.
This photo was taken at the top of the wreckage trail, with the bottom being just off the right hand edge of the picture.
Wreckage from Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk.V P4996 on Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, Glen Carron
These are among the larger parts that remain scattered on the mountain.


The crew were buried in various locations in England, below are some of their graves.

Grave of Wing Commander Gerald Thomas Toland at St Bartholomew parish church, Moreton Corbet, Shropshire
The aircraft’s pilot, Wing Commander Toland was buried at St Bartholomew parish church at Moreton Corbet near RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.
Grave of Pilot Officer Donald Henry Gates at Lambeth Tooting Cemetery, London
The Observer P/O Gates was buried at Lambeth (Tooting) Cemetery in south west London.