RAF Airspeed Oxford, Beinn a'Bhuird, crash date 10/01/45

[Picture from wikipedia.org]

OS 10-figure grid refs (GPS):

NJ 10997 02208
NJ 10995 02247

Google Maps display showing wreckage locations

This wreck site is at a very high altitude (about 1100m) in a remote part of the Cairngorm mountains. It is located about 20 mins walk north across the plateau of Beinn a'Bhuird from the 1197m North Top summit (although this point is not much of a summit, more like a random rocky point on an extensive level plain). The wreck site is on a ridge amongst the granite tors of Stob an t-Sluichd. Some large parts of the aircraft remain at the site, including the two Cheetah engines.

Some of the wreckage remains at this site appear very similar to the wreckage high on the main path to the summit of Braeriach from Sròn na Lairige (see my page about this site here) confirming that those remains come from the Airspeed Oxford rather than the nearby Bristol Blenheim site.

In 'The Highlands of Scotland' by Seton Gordon (Hale, 1951) there is a mention of this site: "An aircraft manned by a Czech crew crashed near the summit of Ben A'an in very lonely country during a winter blizzard. It was only late in the following summer when the victims were found and were buried at the head of a wild corrie - a fitting resting-place for airmen. The bodies were later exhumed, a difficult task, and taken away".

In 'Some days from a hill diary, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, 1943-50' by Adam Watson (Paragon Publishing, 2012), Adam Watson mentions seeing the wreckage from this crash in December 1947, less than three years after the crash.

This crash and wreck site are featured in a chapter of 'The Cairngorms: A Secret History' by Patrick Baker (Birlinn, 2014).

In 'The Living Mountain' by Nan Shepherd (Canongate Books, 2011), Nan Shepherd describes walking in the blizzard in early 1945 in which the aircraft subsequently crashed. She also theorises that the relatively intact nature of the engines at the wreck site was due the crash impact happening on deep snow.

The crash site was discovered by two hillwalkers over seven months after the crash on August 19th. The bodies of the airmen were eventually buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery on September 3rd. Although Seton Gordon states that the site is near the summit of Ben Avon (about 2km to the east), it is actually located on the summit plateau of Beinn a'Bhuird.

The WW2ACSS website has photos and more information about this crash and its eventual discovery and the retrieval of the bodies here. A memorial plaque to the five Czech aircrew who were killed in the crash was affixed to a boulder near the site in 2005, and the WW2ACSS website also has a page about this here. The ACSS website also has some photos and information here. There is also information about this wreck site on David 'Heavy' Whalley's blog here.

These pictures were taken in July 2007.