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Avro Anson Air-Crash site, Ben More Assynt, Sutherland

 
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Avro Anson Air-Crash site, Ben More Assynt, Sutherland Reply with quote

I've never visited this remote spot myself but here is a photograph of the memorial and war grave.



Adam


Last edited by Adam Brown on Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Northern Times 9th May 2003

Poignant pilgrimage to Britain's highest war grave

An elderly woman this week visited her war hero brother's grave for the first time since he and five colleagues crashed and died 62 years ago during World War II.

The RAF laid on a special helicopter mission so that a tearful Helen Kenny (73) could say a prayer over the spot where her brother Brendan is buried on a remote mountainside in Sutherland. At 2500ft up on Ben More Assynt, the site is the highest and loneliest official war grave in the UK.

All six on board the Avro Anson trainer were killed and unusually, because of the difficult terrain, the aircrew were buried together where they died. As a result the grave is seldom visited by anyone, never mind close relatives of the dead fliers. But thanks to 202 Squadron RAF Lossiemouth flying this poignant mission as part of their training, a small group of relatives were able to pay their respects.

Helen said it was particularly sad that her brother, a wireless instructor, was on the fateful flight, since only one year earlier he had survived being shot down over Germany in his Whitley bomber. He and his colleagues parachuted to safety over France and were smuggled back to Britain by the French Resistance, only to meet his death when the twin-engined Anson ran into the worst blizzard in Sutherland for 100 years.

Helen, of Mount Street, Barnsley, said: "It was simply beautiful being able to see Brendan's grave for the first time. The RAF were wonderful and everything went so smoothly. I think it is important that they are remem¬bered. They were all so young, but doing a job that was so important at the time."

For Brian Tompsett (75) from Bishop's Stortford, Herts, the flight was a complete surprise that had been arranged by his wife Cherry and son Bernie, of Sudbury, Sussex. His brother Sgt Arthur Tompsett, from Croydon, was aged only 20 and, newly wed when he took off from RAF Kinloss as a wireless operator/air gunner on the ill fated flight.

The others who died were the pilot, Flying Officer James Steyn (23) from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross; Pilot Officer William Drew (28 ) from Barrow-in-Furness, Lancs, the observer; Sgt Charles Mitchell from Aberdeen, at 31 the oldest of the crew and training to be an observer; and Sgt Jack Emery (20 from Trowbridge, Wilts, a wireless operator/air gunner.

After laying a wreath on the cairn on behalf of the RAF, Wing Commander Steve Garden, C.O. of 202 Squadron, search and rescue Lossiemouth, said: "When the relatives contacted us we decided to combine training with helping on this pilgrimage. It is very unusual to have such a remote war grave, but is important to remember the debt we owe to these airmen."


Brian Tompsett died in 2004 and is now buried in the garveyard at Inchnadamph where the six aircrew are commemorated with a CWGC memorial.

This memorial and Mr Tompsett's grave can be seen here

Adam
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the BBC today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-18262312

Memorial planned for remote war grave on Ben More

Efforts are being made to contact the families of six airmen buried at one of the most remote war graves in the UK.

The crew from Scotland, England and South Africa died when their Avro Anson crashed on Ben More, a mountain in the north west Highlands, in April 1941. It was almost a month before their bodies were found.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission wants to let their families know that a memorial is to be placed where the men were buried close to the crash site.

The crew were flying their twin-engined aircraft on a night-time cross country navigation exercise out of RAF Kinloss in Moray on 13 April.

They crashed at 701m (2,300ft) on Ben More, a Munro near Inchnadamph, in Sutherland.

Those who died were: Pilot Officer William Drew, from Barrow in Furness in Lancashire; Sgt Jack Emery, of Trowbridge in Wiltshire; Flt Sgt Thomas Kenny, from Barnsley in Yorkshire; Sgt Charles Mitchell, of Aberdeen; Flying Officer James Steyn, from Johannesburg; and Sgt Harold Tompsett, of Croydon in Surrey.

Because of bad weather and the remoteness of the area, their bodies were not discovered until 25 May.

The CWGC is writing to the last known addresses of the airmen's next of kin to try to let the families know that a granite memorial is to be placed at the war grave.

A stone slab for the memorial has been ordered. It will be placed over the grave to preserve its integrity.

The burial site is marked by a cairn and pieces of the wrecked aircraft can still be found nearby.

Iain Anderson, the commission's supervisor in Scotland, was guided to the crash site by David "Heavy" Whalley, a former RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team leader.

Following his inspection of the area, Mr Anderson said: "I wouldn't have found it easy to get there without David.

"It really is miles from anywhere."
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Kenneth Morrison



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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Location: Rockcliffe Dalbeattie

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the CWGC site today 18 April 2013

Material for memorial in Scotland flown in by RAF
17 April 2013

The Royal Air Force has helped out the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by flying in materials to one of the most remote war graves in the United Kingdom in preparation for the arrival of a granite memorial.

On 13 April 1941 an RAF Anson bomber crashed in the Scottish Highlands while on a training mission. The six crewmembers died as a consequence and were buried at the crash site by local police.

The remoteness of the grave explains why the six airmen have what the Commission calls an alternative commemoration. In 1941 it was decided to bury them at the crash site, but the Commission could not guarantee to commemorate them there.

The crash site is marked by a cairn, and the Commission is concerned to preserve the integrity of the grave, so it has been agreed that a granite stone - weighing six hundred kilograms - will be inscribed and placed over the airmen's last resting place. The cairn or site is a 3hr walk up into remote location near hamlet of Inchnadamph 20 miles north of Ullapool. The only practical way is to use a helicopter.

The memorial is to be lifted into place by an RAF Chinook from Joint Helicopter Support Squadron (JHSS) who took an under-slung load of kit last week up to the site. They actual memorial will be placed sometime in July.
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Roxy
Moderator - Morayshire


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 512
Location: Elgin, Moray

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to MAEOp Steve 'Schwally' MacDonald and his team for there efforts!

Roxy
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Remembering my ggf, Pte Thomas Roberts, 10 SR, killed 25 Sep 15 at Loos.
Also remembering Flt Lt Al Squires and CXX/3 killed 2 Sep 06 in Afghanistan.
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Adam Brown
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The memorial boulder is now in place. We'll hopefully see some news items appearing later today.

Adam
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stuartn



Joined: 13 Dec 2016
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:10 pm    Post subject: WMR (ex UKNIWM) number Reply with quote

This is WMR report 13469
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Tony H



Joined: 27 Oct 2019
Posts: 17
Location: Sleaford, Lincolnshire

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further info

19 OTU Anson N9857 had departed RAF Kinloss for a night NAVEX (NAVigation EXercise) on 13/04/41

During the flight the aircraft encountered severe weather and the Port Engine failed

The aircraft lost height and flew into high ground 2300 ft AMSL, 3 miles SE of Inchnadamph with the loss of all six crew

Due to the remoteness of the location the crew were buried on site making this the highest war grave in the UK
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stuartn



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Under the national definition of a war memorial this has now been deemed not to be a war memorial, because it is an actual grave site, so WMR 13469 has been deleted
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