MHG30836 - Aircraft Crash Site, Monadhliath Mountains


Lancaster aircraft crash site.

Type and Period (2)

  • AIRCRAFT CRASH SITE (Crashed, Second World War - 1944 AD to 1944 AD)
  • LANCASTER (Crashed, Second World War - 1944 AD to 1944 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A Lancaster crashed on August 31st, 1944. Broke up in mid air. Serial No. PD258. Sqd. 463.

Information supplied by Alan Clark, 11/04/02.
Macclesfield Aviation Group, a member of the British Aviation Archaeological Council.
J Aitken : 15/04/02.

Website - or e-mail at
Website details supplied by A Clark, 11/04/02.
J Aitken : 17/04/02.

A licence (no. 1592) has been granted to excavate these remains. The licence refers to aircraft serial no. PD259 but this is believed to be the same aircraft. <1>

The Badenoch and Strathspey Herald reports that the visible debris from this plane has now been retrieved by a multi-agency team comprising Army, RAF and Navy personnel, assisted by the Northern Constabulary. This operation was required to ensure long term protection of the remains, which were vulnerable to vandalism.
As many as possible of the components, pieces of fuselage and other equipment were recovered. The items included one of the original landing wheels, an important find because it is the only smooth tyre from a Lancaster still in existence. One of the bomb bay doors was also recovered. Many of the components were in very good condition and it is planned to use them to help keep the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster (known as the "Phantom of the Ruhr) in the skies.
It is reported that a propellor from the bomber was retrieved a year ago and dismantled at RAF Waddington. This has since been installed in the "Phantom of the Ruhr", the only remaining airworthy Lancaster in Europe. A single blade from the propellor was used as a memorial to the Australian airmen who perished in the crash and all the other RAAF men killed in the Second World War. This memorial was unveiled in the private graveyard at Balavil, owned by the Macperson-Fletchers, on the 64th anniversary of the crash.
The Avro Lancaster PD259 JO-G from 463 Squadron (RAAF), based at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire had only 57 flying hours under its belt when it broke up in mid-flight at 10,000 feet, killing all seven crew. The previous night, the aircraft had been one of 189 Lancasters engaged in a bombing run to Koningsberg. <2>

Brief report on recovery of sections of wreckage, carried out by personnel from RAF Waddington. A number of the larger sections of the aircraft wreckage were recovered, particularly where they had significant markings or represented an important part of the aircraft structure. These were returned to RAF Waddington.
The Lancaster was of 463 Sqn RAAF based at Waddington. It was, on 31st August 1944, flying a night navigation exercise with a recently arrived crew consisting of 6 Australians and a Scottish Flight Engineer. For reasons still unknown it crashed just before midnight into gently rising ground in the Monadhliath Mountains 10km north of Kingussie. The crew were all killed and are now buried in Cambridge and Glasgow. <3>

A further licence (no. 1661) has been granted for further excavation of these remains. <4>

The plan under Licence 1661 was to recover some more sections of the wreckage identified on previous visits to the site, that were significant because of their size and because they are an important part of the aircraft structure. These included several fuselage side panels, a damaged main wheel, part of the cabin floor, and a Merline Engine. Some digging was necessary to free partially buried items. The items were airlifted by helicopter to the A9 and from there by road to RAF Waddington.
The recovered items are being gently cleaned and sprayed with preservative and will join the previously recovered sections on display under cover in the Station Heritage Centre in Waddington. A full list of the items removed is appended to the letter dated 30 November 2010 (linked to this record). <5>

A further licence to excavate was granted on 30 August 2011 (licence no. 1704). <6>

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NH 724 106 (200m by 200m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH71SW
Civil Parish ALVIE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (0)

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