Avro Anson Mk.I N9857 of No.19 Operational Training Unit, crashed on Imir Fada, Ben More Assynt, near Inchnadamph, Sutherland, on the 13th April 1941 while on a night cross country navigation exercise from RAF Kinloss
|James Henry Steyn DFC||Flying Officer||Pilot||Killed|
|William Edward Drew||Pilot Officer||Observer (Instructor)||Killed|
|Charles McPherson Mitchell||Sergeant||Observer (Pupil)||Killed|
|Thomas Brendon Kenny||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator||Killed|
|Jack Emery||Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||Killed|
|Harold Arthur Tompsett||Sergeant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||Killed|
F/O Steyn’s Distinguished Flying Cross was Gazetted on the 17th January 1941, he was a Pilot Officer serving with No.10 Squadron at the time
The aircraft had taken off from Kinloss in less than ideal weather to follow a route via Oban, Stornaway and Cape Wrath before returning to Kinloss. The aircraft had completed the first two legs of its flight and reported passing Stornaway in icing conditions around this time the aircrafts port engine lost power and failed. Some time after this having either flown onto Cape Wrath or turning for base near Stornaway the aircraft flew into high ground in near white out conditions to the North East of Inchnadamph. The aircraft was reported overdue at Kinloss and an air search was initiated but this failed to locate the missing aircraft, it wasn’t until the 25th May that the aircraft was located by a shepherd. A decision was made not to recover the remains of the crew due so they were all buried near the crash site and the aircraft was broken up and pushed in nearby gullies. When the wreck was discovered it was found that the crew had survived the crash and had probably died in the hours shortly after the crash from the affects of their injuries and exposure / hypothermia. One crew member had attempted to walk to help but headed east away from civilisation and also perished in the cold. On the same day three shepherd’s died from exposure and hypothermia in the Assynt area, showing that the weather was unseasonably bad.
In May 2012 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission announced that they intend to place a new memorial over the graves of the crew of N9857, this will be in the form of a large granite slab. More can be seen on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and the BBC.
Work on the new memorial at the crash site was completed during the summer of 2013 when the granite block was airlifted to the site by an RAF Chinook.