Hawker Audax K7382, 26(AC) Squadron, RAF Catterick
crashed Otterburn, Northumberland on 22nd July 1937
|Anthony Croker Weldon
On the 22nd May 1937 a detachment of Audax bi-planes set off from RAF Catterick in Yorkshire to take part in Artillery shoots on the Redesdale Ranges near Otterburn. Whilst here the aircraft were to operate from a temporary landing ground near Otterburn. The detachment was to be based here until 10th September when they were to return to Catterick.
On 22nd July 1937 F/Lt Anthony Croker Weldon took off in Audax K7382 to observe the artillery shoots on the nearby ranges. On his return the aircrafts wheels dug into the soft ground and the aircraft tipped onto its nose damaging the propeller and undercarriage. F/Lt Weldon suffered only minor injuries.
The Crash Site
We have been unable to identify exactly where the temporary landing ground was located, but it is known to be within close proximity of the village. We know this from speaking to a former pilot who spent a short time here with another Army Co-Operation squadron and he recalls how close they were to The Percy Arms public house.
Although there is a dedicated landing ground with concrete runways on the Otterburn Range near Stewart Shiels Farm, this is a post war construction. According to locals the only field large and flat enough to accommodate an airfield is the old show field located due west of Otterburn Mill.