Handley Page Hampden Mk.I L4063, 50 Squadron, RAF Waddington
crashed Windy Gyle, Cheviot Hills on 17th March 1940
|Position||Rank/Title||Full Name||Age||Service Number||Injury|
|Pilot||F/O||Vivian Howard Ayres||25||39479||Fatal|
|Pilot||P/O||Peter Aubrey Forrester Addie||19||41646||Fatal|
|W/Op||LAC||Allan Vincent Wallace||20||550802||Missing|
|Air Gunner||Sgt||George Albert Rowling||26||514444||Missing|
Hampden L4063 had left RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire at 19:18 hours for a security patrol over Heligoland. Having encountered no enemy activity, and still fully loaded with bombs, the aircraft returned, keeping at altitude of 12,000ft ASL to remain above cloud and was homing on the direction finding set at Waddington.
A fault in the direction finding equipment resulted in the aircraft flying off course and believing he was nearing base, F/O Ayres began a descent. The aircraft had drifted too far north however and, whilst heading eastwards, it struck the side of Windy Gyle at an altitude of 1,700ft ASL and exploded. A large crater was formed on the hillside and the wings and front fuselage were thrown across the ridge top and onto the eastern side of the hill.
The explosion was heard by a shepherd who, after a steep climb up from the farm of Cocklawfoot, found the bodies of two of the crew amongst the tangle of wreckage. He returned to the farm and reported his find to the Police. The two bodies were identified as that of Ayres and Addie and they were brought down from the hill to Jedburgh. A continued search failed to find the bodies of Wallace and Rowling and it is assumed that their remains were completely destroyed by the explosion and ensuing fire, as a result they are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, which honours those with no known grave.
The Crash Site
Up until the 1960’s a considerable amount of wreckage, including the engines,rear fuselage and outboard wing sections were present at the site. It is believed that these were removed by helicopter but their ultimate fate is unknown, some sources claiming they went to the Otterburn Range to serve as targets.
Despite this, up until the mid 1990’s there was still a considerable amount of small to medium sized pieces still to be found in the main impact crater, and on the opposite side of the hill, the underside of the nose was partly buried in a stream. However these final remains were recovered from the site by the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group (LARG) and now only small fragments are to be found at the scene.
A memorial was erected at the site by LARG in July of 2000 and this can be seen just below the western ridge of Windy Rig.