Avro Anson Mk.I LT433 / MI of the Staff Pilot Training Unit crashed near to Llyn Cowlyd reservoir, Dolgarrog, on the 20th February 1944


Joseph William Francis Grant Sergeant Pilot Killed
Robert Birch Sergeant Navigator Injured
Thomas Renni Renton Warrant Officer Staff Wireless Operator Injured
Mervyn John Byrne Pilot Officer RAAF Wireless operator (u/t) Injured


The crew were to fly an hourglass shaped route from Cark on the northern side of Morecambe Bay with three intermediate waypoints before returning to Cark. The first leg was from Cark to a point above the Irish Sea approximately 36 miles south-west of Holyhead, from their they were to turn north to a point 35 miles west of the Calf of Man before returning to Cark via Fleetwood on the southern side of Morecambe Bay.

The only over land section of the route was a short part of the first leg along the north coast of Anglesey, at that point they should have been 25 miles north-west of the mountains of Snowdonia.

The aircraft left Cark at 20:15 and twenty minutes later received a bearing of 204oT from Cark, the true heading to their first waypoint was 230o from Cark. The bearing was acknowledged by the wireless operator who was using the set at the time. After this there was no further communication with Cark. At the time of this transmission the aircraft was estimated to have been within sight of the Bar lightship which lay at anchor off the Mersey estuary and was operational at the time. A position check was requested by Cark at 20:57 but this went unanswered.

When it was realised that the aircraft was overdue its disappearance was reported to RAF Llandwrog near Caernarfon and the Royal Observer Corps. The ROC had plotted an aircraft over North Wales and then lost visual contact with it. The position reported was much closer to Wrexham so RAF Wrexham were tasked to investigate the report.

At 11:35 on the 21st February RAF Llandwrog received a report from the Police at Conwy that an aircraft had crashed near to Llyn Cowlyd and surviving crew members had been located. The Mountain Rescue Team set out and arrived just over an hour later. It was found that Warrant Officer Renton was the most seriously injured and so he was immediately carried off the hill to the waiting RAF ambulance and taken to Llandudno hospital where he arrived at 16:30. After this Pilot Officer Byrne was the next to the taken by stretcher followed by Sgt Birch, they arrived at hospital at 22:45, more than 1 day after they had crashed. The body of Sergeant Grant was the last to be recovered from the crash site after which the MRT returned to Llandwrog. His body was returned to his family for burial at Colinton Parish Church in Edinburgh.


Wreckage at the crash site of Avro Anson LT433 above Llyn Cowlyd
Not much is left of LT433, but there are parts from the undercarriage and various panels where the aircraft was burned by the local MU.
The crash site of Avro Anson LT433 above Llyn Cowlyd during the 1960s
Above is a photograph of the site from the 1960s showing the undercarriage assemblies in a slightly more complete state but overall the site has not changed that much.
Image Copyright David Smith.