Avian G-ABCO

Avro Avian, G-ABCO, Border Flying Club
crashed Low Houses, Low Gate on 14th August 1937


PositionRank/TitleFull NameAgeService NumberInjury
PilotMrRobert Neville Birley35Minor

Accident Details

Mr Robert Birley left Newcastle for Carlisle in Avian G-ABCO, his ultimate destination is unknown but as an acting Barrister he travelled all over the North and he lived in Liverpool so it is likely Carlisle was merely a stop off on a longer journey.

As Mr Birley headed west following the Tyne Valley the weather began to deteriorate and he decided to turn back.  However as the weather worsened he decided that it would be best to try and find a suitable field in order to put the aircraft down.  Out of the gloom he spotted what appeared to be a field and attempted to land.  The field however turned out to be a walled stretch of moorland and the aircraft struck the ground and crashed onto the boggy ground, the undercarriage striking some railings surrounding a water tank, which acted like a brake preventing more serious damage to the tiny bi-plane.

Aside from a small cut to one of his fingers, Mr Birley escaped serious injury.  The crash was heard by two girls, Margaret and Annie Armstrong of Low Houses Cottage and they ran to his aid.  By the time they reached the wrecked aircraft Mr Birley was already out of the aircraft so they guided him across the moor to the farm where he was given a cup of tea.  Later Mr Birley headed to Bardon Mill where his brother lived.

The Crash Site

We have yet to visit the crash site but indications are that it is on the high ground to the south of Low Houses Cottage.

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