Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, October 23 2007.

Last Sunday I went for a 16km hike across the moors of the Lammermuir Hills, not very far from Edinburgh, to an air wreck site that is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It was a gloomy day due to thick cloud cover and the bleakness of the destination made it even more of a gloomy walk.

The wreck site is of that of a Boston Paul Defiant which crashed high up (at an altitude of about 450m) in the Lammermuir Hills during the Second World War. The site has a memorial at it, and is a war grave. Apparently the aircraft crashed at such a steep angle and at such a high speed that it became buried in the peat and mud to such a depth that recovery of the pilot was impossible, so he remains there at the site.

There are a few sad bits of the aircraft still lying about, mainly small scraps of mangled metal and some pieces of rubber (one of which had the word ‘Dunlop’ still clearly visible on it). The surrounding landscape is barren and empty, with views to the Cheviot and Eildon Hills. You can see photographs I took of the site on my website here.

Although this was a reasonably long walk, it was mostly along level 4×4 tracks so was not really all that arduous. A lot of these tracks run alongside large electricity pylons that buzz menacingly, adding even more to the air of general unease that you just can’t help feeling in this unwelcoming landscape.

One Response to “Wreck site and grave in the Lammermuir Hills”

  1. Mike Davenport

    Hi Eddie
    I know this site well and have written a poem about it.

    Memorial, Lammermuir Hills

    Two old men zigzag across a moor
    carrying their 1940s childhoods with them.
    They vanish into peat hags, reappear.

    Hunt Laws southern slope, trackless,
    featureless. Then what was not there,
    is there: a standing stone, singular
    amongst the heather.
    It becomes an inscribed stone,
    exact, particular:

    Scraps of fuselage stir, grumbling
    or lamenting in the wind.
    The part-word UNLOP on a piece of tyre:
    a reminder of the pact he made with land
    as well as air.

    They feel the thinness of their skin, are chilled
    by more than just the present wind.
    And the merest space-time barrier away,
    that instant on another August day:
    his terrible return to earth;
    birds scramble through heather,
    whirr into the sky.

    If you give me your e-mail I will attach a poem about and photos of another crash site I came across near Conival in Assynt. It was a WW2 1944 I think, Avro Anson with engines almost perfectly preserved.


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