Hawker Hart K4931 of No.5 Flying Training School, RAF, crashed on Esclusham Mountain near Wrexham on the 12th February 1937

Hawker Hart at the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon

Arthur Simpson Acting Pilot Officer Pilot Killed

The pilot was carrying out a day cross country exercise from RAF Sealand near Chester, the weather was reported to be low cloud with frequent snow showers. When A/P/O Simpson failed to return he was reported overdue and a search for him and his aircraft began.

Initially the search was concentrated to the north and west of Sealand with Lifeboats put on standby to put to sea if anything was spotted. Reports came through an aircraft flying in the Whitchurch area of Shropshire so for a time the search was directed into that area. All searches stopped over night and it was the following morning when the wreckage of the missing aircraft was discovered by a shepherd working on the moorland above the village of Minera. He had spotted it from some distance away through binoculars and went over to investigate the unusual shape. Once the crash was reported it was discovered that quarry workers near Minera had heard the distance sound of a crash the previous day but being unaware of the missing aircraft had thought nothing more about it.

The aircraft had dived into the moorland at fairly high speed with much of the forward end of the aircraft embedded in the ground.

A/P/O Simpson had only been a member of the Royal Air Force since the autumn of 1936 (he received his commission to the rank of Acting Pilot Officer on the 12th October), he had served with the Territorial Army before this point at the rank of Lieutenant in the 5th King’s Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment.

Crash site of Hawker Hart K4931 on Esclushm Mountain, Wrexham
The site is currently marked by a small cross of stones, at the time of our visit to the site it had been recently excavated.
Crash site of Hawker Hart K4931 on Esclusham Mountain, Wrexham
Above is a second photograph of the site with the jumbled sods of grass and earth placed back onto the excavated hole. There were only a couple of tiny fragments of metal in among this.
Crash site of Hawker Hart K4931 on Esclusham Mountain, Wrexham
A second visit to the site showed that it had recovered completely from the excavation and was almost completely overgrown with moss and reeds.