Lockheed P-38J 42-67859 of the 402nd FS, 370th FG, 9th Air Force USAAF crashed in the Olchon Valley on the 12th April 1944


Coleman C. Richards 1st Lieutenant Pilot Killed


The pilot was on a cross country navigation exercise from Andover, his route was Andover – Aberdovey – Bedford – Andover. It was while flying on the first leg of the flight that 1st Lt Richards strayed off track while heading North West across southern England in decreasing visibility. Still heading north west the aircraft flew into the western side of the valley in the Black Mountains a short distance from the border with Wales. The crash site is about 3.5 miles off the direct track from Andover to Aberdovey.

1st Lt Richards had been briefed that if poor visibility was encountered before reaching the high ground to head for Hereford (15 miles to the East) and then to Bedford, it would seem that he had felt the conditions were not too bad for him to continue but having strayed to the west of his route crashed.

Crash site of Lockheed P-38 42-67859, Ochlon, Black Mountains
A photo showing the site with the few bits of the aircraft that remain. Behind is a scar in which some tiny fragments can be found.
Wreckage at the crash site of Lockheed P-38 42-67859, Ochlon, Black Mountains
Small fragments of wreckage at the crash site.