Avro Lancaster G.R. Mk.3 TX264 / BS-D of No.120 Squadron RAF, flew into Beinn Eighe, Torridon, on the 14th March 1951

Avro Lancaster


Harry Smith Reid DFC Flight Lieutenant Pilot Killed
Ralph Clucas Sergeant Co-pilot Killed
Robert Strong Flying Officer Navigator Killed
George Farquhar Flight Sergeant Flight Engineer Killed
Peter Tennison Flight Lieutenant Signaller Killed
James Naismith Flight Sergeant Signaller Killed
Wilfred Davie Beck Sergeant Signaller Killed
James Warren Bell Sergeant Signaller Killed


The aircraft had taken off from RAF Kinloss near Nairn on the Moray coast, the crew were to conduct an night navigation training exercise. Some 6 1/2 hours after leaving Kinloss the crew reported that they were approximately 60 miles to the North of Cape Wrath. After this point there was no further radio contact with aircraft, as by the following morning the aircraft had failed to return to base or land at another airfield a search was initiated. This was carried out by numerous aircraft from airfields in Scotland but there were no sightings. On the 17th March as report was received that a red flash had been seen in the Torridon area around the time the aircraft disappeared.

An aerial search of the Torridon mountains was carried out and the burnt out wreckage of air aircraft was spotted high on the northern side of Beinn Eighe at the top of the cliffs of the Triple Buttress. Ground units set out to attempt to reach the site to confirm that is was the missing Lancaster but could not reach the site due to deep lying snow and further poor weather, together with a lack of suitable equipment. It was the end of March before members of the RAF Mountain Rescue Team from Kinloss were able to reach the wreck to begin the task of recovering the bodies of the crew. The recovery of the last missing airmen was not carried out until August 1951 when enough snow had melted to uncover his body.

This recovery operation by the RAF Mountain Rescue Service lead directly to changes in the way the teams were equipped and operated, at the end of World War 2 a number of the teams were run down as the number of call outs dwindled and they eventually found themselves in a similar position to the search teams of the early war years.

Today wreckage from the aircraft is still strewn from the crash site some 3,000ft above sea level down into Coire Mhic Fhearchair where a number of large items remain.

Rolls Royce Merlin engine at the crash site of Avro Lancaster TX264 on Beinn Eighe
One of the four Merlin engines is still relatively intact, I found two of the others they were both minus there front four cylinders, showing that there was quite an impact.
Main wheel near the crash site of Avro Lancaster TX264 on Beinn Eighe
One of the main wheels lies at the foot of the wreckage trail. The tyre from the other is not far from this.
Propeller on the scree slope below the crash site of Avro Lancaster TX264 on Beinn Eighe
One of the four propellers lies on the screes below the Triple Buttress where the aircraft crashed, a plaque is now attached to one of its blades.
Plaque attached to a propeller at the crash site of Avro Lancaster TX264 on Beinn Eighe
Above is the plaque that is attached to one of the propeller blades. One of the other props is mounted on a plinth at RAF Kinloss, another is wedged in the rocks high up Fuselage Gully, and the third is broken into sections and is widely spread.


Five of the crew were taken to Kinloss Abbey for burial.Five of the crew were taken to Kinloss Abbey for burial.

Grave of Flight Lieutenant Peter Tennison at Kinloss Abbey

Grave of Sergeant Wilfred Davie Beck at Kinloss Abbey

Grave of Sergeant James Warren Bell at Kinloss Abbey

Grave of Sergeant Ralph Clucas at Kinloss Abbey

Grave of Flight Sergeant James Naismith at Kinloss Abbey