Avro Anson Mk.I N5297 of No.2 (O)AFU crashed on Shalloch-on-Minnoch on the 2nd July 1942


William Thomas Gale Flight Sergeant, RCAF Pilot Killed
James Cameron Campbell Leading Aircraftman Observer (u/t) Killed
Joseph Arthur Wild Leading Aircraftman Observer (u/t) Killed
John Benson Hall Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Killed
Ernest Everall Aircraftman 2nd Class Wireless Operator / Air Gunner (u/t) Killed


The aircraft was being used for a cross country navigation training flight with a crew of five, a staff pilot and wireless operator along with three trainees. After taking off from Millom in Cumbria at 11:00 the aircraft was seen by the Royal Observer Corps north west of Dumfries flying at 3,000ft. After then there were no sightings of the aircraft and no radio communication.

Crash site of Avro Anson N5297 on Shalloch-on-Minnoch, South Ayrshire
The summit of Shalloch-on-Minnoch is a broad plateau with two distinct summits, the western has the OS trig point on it and the eastern a cairn. A short distance from the cairn on the eastern summit is a scar containing burnt fragments of the aircraft where it crashed.

When it failed to return it was presumed that the aircraft may have flown into one of the mountains of southern Scotland which had been covered with cloud that day.

Two days later a shepherd discovered the wrecked aircraft on the eastern side of the summit of Shalloch-on-Minnoch. Despite having flown into relatively level ground all five on board had been killed. The shepherd returned from the hill and reported the crash to the local Police who then informed RAF Turnberry. By the time a party from RAF Turnberry reached the top of the hill it was dark and they left the hill for the night, returning during the 5th July to recover the bodies of the crew.

Crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I N5297 on Shalloch-on-Minnoch, South Ayrshire
The view looking north from the crash site. A short distance away there is a generator from the aircraft behind a rock, however all the other remaining wreckage is in the form of very small pieces in the scar.

On the 9th July the aircraft’s Pilot and Wireless Operator were buried at Dunure Cemetery near Turnberry, while the other three crew were returned to their families for burial. The two who are buried at Dunure have the date 3rd July inscribed on their headstones, the reason for this is unknown as none of the crew survived the crash and it occurred during the day on the 2nd July.

Grave of Flight Sergeant William Thomas Gale RCAF at Dunure Cemetery, Ayrshire
The grave of Flight Sergeant William Thomas Gale, RCAF, at Dunure Cemetery in Ayrshire.
Grave of Sergeant John Benson Hall RAFVR at Dunure Cemetery, Ayrshire
Grave of Sergeant John Benson Hall at Dunure.
Grave of Aircraftman Ernest Everall RAFVR at Droylsden Cemetery, Tameside, Manchester
Aircraftman Ernest Everall’s grave at Droylsden Cemetery on the eastern side of Manchester.