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.

Crash site of Avro Anson N9857, Imir Fada, Ben more Assynt
A view of some of the remaining wreckage at the crash site of N9857 in July 2006, I visited the site on a walk organised annually by the local ranger service.
Engine and memorial at the crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I N9857, Imir Fada, Ben More Assynt
One of the aircraft’s two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah engines with the cairn over the crew’s grave in the background. The aircraft possibly struck the hill to the right of the photo as I found wreckage from one of the aircraft’s wings in the boulders on that hill

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.


Memorial plaque at the crash site of Avro Anson N9857
Above is the plaque on the cairn at the crash site, it records the names of the crew and the date of the crash.
Memorial in Inchnadamph in memory of the crew of Avro Anson N9857
Above is the Commonwealth War Grave Commission memorial at Inchnadamph church.
Memorial in Inchnadamph in memory of the crew of Avro Anson N9857
A closer view of the inscription on the memorial.
Wreckage near the crash site of Avro Anson Mk.I N9857 on Imir Fada, Ben More Assynt
The view from the furthest piece of wreckage, a section from the leading edge of a wing, back down to the crash site.
Engine from Avro Anson N9857 at the crash site on Imir Fada, Ben More Assynt
Above is the aircraft’s second Cheetah engine.
Undercarriage from Avro Anson N9857 near Inchnadamph
Both sets of undercarriage oleos are still at the site, this being the better preserved of the two, the other is quite broken up, though appeared in High Ground Wrecks and Relics as a complete piece, however that photo was taken before 1985.