" Memories of WW2 in the Cheviot Hills"

I was very kindly sent the following information by Colin Corlett for which I am grateful.

The Cheviot Hills lie along the English - Scottish border just to the south of Edinburgh and north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Although this is one of the most remote and unpopulated areas of England it couldn't escape the arrival of WW2 . These beautiful hills were the scene for many air craft crashes, and unfortunately many pilots died on these remote hills.

Braydon Craggs

The RAF had a complex system for training pilots and their aircrew. It all started with elementary flying training schools ( EFTS) and from here, depending upon the aptitude of the new pilot, there were successive courses for either fighters or multi engined aircraft ie bombers.
The majority of the EFTS would have taken place in Canada under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
However the more advanced courses were usually back in Britain and for these older or war weary planes were provided.
England at this time was dotted with small regional airports such as the one at Milfield near the northern edge of the Cheviot Hills.
Planes returning from action over Europe didn't always make it back to their home base. Often they had to be diverted to the nearest runway. So although German activity over the Cheviot was slight the combination of training flights with the many emergency landings meant that these hills were never quiet.

The Flying Fortress which crashed on 14th December 1944.


The B-17 Flying Fortress entered service in 1937. It went on to become, arguably, the USA's most successful wartime plane.
The 360th bomb squadron of the 303rd bomb group was based at Molesworth
( http://www.controltowers.co.uk/M/Molesworth.htm ).
It was here the plane which we are interested in, 44-6504, came after being built by the Douglas Airplane company at Long Beach , California. On the 14th December 1944 it set off on it's 3rd mission, the target was the marshalling yards at Ulm. However thick cloud cover meant that the aircraft were having trouble maintaining the "box" formation which was so critical to their success. Consequently the mission was aborted. However 44-6504 became separated and it wasn't until sometime later that a wireless fix suggested that they were over the Cheviot Hills. Low flying , under 3,000 ft,was imperative to prevent the formation of ice but the blizzard conditions reduced visability and at 13.15 hours the plane crashed into West Hill just alongside Braydon Crags

Wreckage

The shepherds, John Dagg and Frank Moscrop, from Dunsdale and Southern knowe then started to climb the hill despite the atrocious conditions.Along with them was Sheila their working border collie sheep dog. Several of the survivors were awarded minor gallantry awards and both shepherds received the BEM. Sheila, the Collie, was awarded the Dicken medal, the only civilian dog ever given this honour.

Of the 9 aircrew, 2 perished in the crumpled nose, 3 made their own way down the hill to Mounthooley and four were rescued and helped off the hill by the shepherds.

Dunsdale

To commemorate .the 50th anniversary of VE Day, on 19th May 1995, a memorial to the airmen who had lost their lives over the Cheviot Hills was erected in the College Valley

The Memorial

This was a personal letter left at the memorial

Text & Pictures with my acknowledgments to Colin

 

Home PageNAVYARMYAIRFORCE

Allies Pages

RELATED LINKS

FACTS & FIGURES

GUESTBOOK

Past
Guestbook