Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, November 24 2011.

Wreckage of the Beaufort in a small crater near the summit of Hill of Wirren

Wreckage of the Beaufort in a small crater near the summit of Hill of Wirren

Last week I went for a short walk in Glen Lethnot, one of the Angus glens north of Brechin, with my friend Katy. We walked from the farm at Auchowrie, up the west slope of Hill of Wirren, to look for two air wreck sites on the hill. However the weather was not as good as we had hoped and the light was very poor in the low cloudbase (not very good for photos), so we only investigated one of these sites, that of a Bristol Beaufort bomber that crashed on the hill in 1942.

The site of the wreck lies near the 678m summit of Hill of Wirren, about 750m west of the summit trig point. A small crater lies on the western slopes of Hill of Wirren at an altitude of about 610m, which contains wreckage parts from the Beaufort, including some undercarriage pieces. A trail of wreckage parts continues down the hill from the crater for about 20m.

About 1km south-east of this wreck site lies the remains of the other wartime crash, a RAF Consolidated Liberator that also crashed near the summit of Hill of Wirren, in 1944. I will wait for a better day to return and visit this site.

About 500m south-west of the Beaufort wreck site, lower down the hill, there is a cairn with a piece of what appears to be aircraft wreckage embedded in it. This may come from the Beaufort or the Liberator.

It was quite interesting to hear Katy’s perspective on the site, for despite her being a very experienced mountaineer and walker, she had never seen a wreck site like this in the Scottish mountains and I think she appreciated the oddness of it!

You can see my page about this wreck site on my website here.

9 Responses to “Wreck of a wartime Bristol Beaufort bomber in the Angus glens”

  1. Jennifer Noble

    I am the great niece of the pilot who flew the Liberator Bomber and crashed into the Hill of Wirren in 1944. I am traveling to Ireland in May 2016 and I am trying to make my way to Scotland to see this wreckage site, as well as visit the cemetery in Montrose. I am trying to locate a contact person from this estate that could/would help me see this, no one in my family has ever been before. I am writing from Canada and have many questions on how to get there, where to stay, and the best way to get back to London for my departure back to Canada. I hope that maybe you will have some information that could assist me in finding the right contact person. Thank you so very much!!

    Jennifer Noble

    • john davidson

      My son and I visited the Liberator site many years ago , the hill has quite a few crash sites ,being the first high hill inland from Montrose where the RAF training station was situated. There is a trail of debris from just below the top of the hill to near the summit and a curious feature is the round stones which on being picked up are so light that you realise they are actually melted aluminium from the fire subsequent to the crash .Apparently all the crew survived probably because the impact was near the rounded top of the hill. I note the previous reply was Jan 2016 but i would be happy to establish contact and help in a visit in 2017 onward.

      • Neil Murray

        Hi John … my father was the rear gunner in the Liberator that crashed on October 17, 1944. All but 4 of the crew were killed. In addition to my father in the tail, the front gunner, the pilot, and the young P/O on a training run survived. They were in 547 Squadron out of Luechars Scotland. The investigation revealed that a gyrocompass had not been set correctly and they took off in a snow storm in a north easterly direction and circled back into the Hill of Wirren. You are correct in that they hit the very top of Wirren and likely the skipper pulled up at the last second. Some day I will make the journey to the crash site.

        Neil Murray
        Paris Ontario Canada

  2. Sheila Baldry

    Bristol Beaufort bomber.
    John Leyland was the stepson of my great aunt Molly who was my grandfather’s sister.
    They emigrated to Canada in May 1928 when John was 14 I was born after they left so never knew them.
    Auntie Molly would write often about her life in Petersfield, Manitoba and in the envelope would be samples
    of wheat they had grown. (That wouldn’t be allowed now but this was in the 1930′s).
    We lived in Lostock Gralam, Cheshire and I remember John coming to see us while stationed
    in the UK. He had an older brother Wilfred who was in the Canadian Army and also paid us a visit
    before he returned to Canada after the war. I often wonder if there are any family members
    living in Petersfield. I know Wilfred married a girl from Staffordshire and they settled in Canada.
    So pleased I found your Blog. Thank you.

  3. Jeffrey Santhouse

    My uncle , Cyril Tofield, was a navigator in the Beaufort bomber which crashed in 1942 on the Hill of Wirren. I live in Cheshire and would like the services of a local guide sometime in June or July to the site of the wreck . Can anyone help me please ? Thank you


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