In the summer issue of LZDZ you will have read about how a Chinook was used to lift the stores required to prepare the ground for the installation of the UK’s remotest war grave.
In the following article read how RAF Odiham’s aircraft and personnel returned to Inchanadamph (this time without hiking through the snow) to assist with the final placement on the memorial.
The memorial marks the crash site and graves of an RAF crew killed during World War II. It was flown onto a remote mountainside in the Scottish Highlands by a Chinook.
The crew of six were all killed when their Anson plane crashed on Ben More Assynt on 13th April 1941. Due to the inaccessibility of the crash site, the crew were buried on the mountain – their final resting places marked with a cairn.
In 2012, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) decided to replace the existing cairn, which had deteriorated in the harsh climate, with a granite marker weighing some 600 kilograms, to identify and protect the aircrew’s burial site from becoming lost or disturbed in the future. 2,000ft up, the site on Ben More Assynt is one of the Commission’s most remote sites in the UK and the logistics of replacing the cairn have proved challenging.
With support from the twin rotor RAF Chinook helicopter the memorial was carried by underslung load to the site. MACR Steve Macdonald from JHSS at RAF Odiham said: “It’s a very humbling experience. I can honestly say that in my 30 years in the Royal Air Force it’s one of the most fantastic projects I’ve been involved in because there are very few places where the crews are actually buried where they crashed and now these men will always be remembered.”
The granite memorial now serves as a permanent reminder of: Plt Off William Drew, Sgt Jack Emery, Sgt Harold Arthur Tompsett, Fg Off James Henry Steyn (DFC), Sgt Charles McPherson Mitchell and FS Thomas Brendon Kenny who were killed in the crash.
The families of the crew have been informed throughout the project and for Bernie Tompsett – nephew of Sgt Harold Arthur Tompsett – the installation of the new marker has been a great comfort. He said, “It was a time when so many families learned of the tragic loss of their loved ones… Perhaps we are fortunate that they came to rest in such a beautiful part of Scotland.”