Bristol Blenheim Mk.I, 90 Squadron, RAF Bicester
crashed Cottonshopeburnfoot on 30th August 1938
|Position||Rank/Title||Full Name||Age||Service Number||Injury|
|Pilot||F/O||Hughie Idwal Edwards||39005||Injured, seriously|
|Obs||Sgt||Walter Frank Nash||359695||Injured|
|W/Op||AC1||John Aubrey Theophilus||525690||Injured|
In the late morning of 30th August 1938 Blenheim K7067 took off from RAF Bicester for a cross-country exercise. The pilot for this journey was the A flight commander, F/O Hughie Idwal Edwards.
Later that afternoon the aircraft was over central Northumberland near Redesdale Camp when it was witnessed by William Rogerson of Cottonshope Head farm to be in difficulty. The aircraft had infact started to ice up and F/O Edwards was struggling to keep the machine in the air. The decision was given to abandon the aircraft which the crew did with the ground only 500 feet below them.
F/O Edwards was the last to leave but as he baled out his parachute became snagged on the tail of the aircraft, only freeing itself seconds before the aircraft impacted with the ground and demolished 40 yards of stone walling. Luckily for F/O Edwards the ground he hit took the form of extremely soft peat and he landed in it up to his armpits. Although suffering serious injuries to his head and legs F/O Edwards returned to flying duties and later served with distinction during the Second World War and beyond being awarded the VC, KCMG, CB, DSO, OBE, DFC before retiring on 30th September 1963.
As for the other occupants of the aircraft, they both served through the duration of WWII, Sgt Nash retired as Squadron Leader on 18th September 1953, whilst AC1 Theophilus retired with an OBE on 1st October 1972.
The Crash Site
Much of the aircraft was buried at the foot of the hill in what turned out to be a superficial clear up. An engine remained at the foot for the hill for a number of years according to a farmer but this vanished long ago.