Aircraft Wreckage, Black Hambleton

Went looking for an aircraft crash site this morning. On 18th January 1944 a Handley Page Halifax aircraft manned by airmen from the Royal Canadian Air Force was on a daylight cross country flight from RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk.Visibility was poor and a minimum safe flying altitude had been given at the briefing. We can only speculate why the aircraft was flying below that height. It was flying west so it must have been returning to Topcliffe, when it crashed into the moorland on the east side of Black Hambleton which, at 399m asl, is the highest point on the Hambleton Hills, a range of limestone capped hills on the south eastern edge of the North York Moors. All six members of the crew were killed:

  • F/O J.P. Lavallee      Pilot
  • F/O W.L. Boisvert    Flt Eng
  • F/O W. Phillips         Flt Eng
  • Sgt R.G. Kimball     Nav
  • W/O G.E. Giff         BA
  • Sgt G.H. Hivon       WO/AG

I had a 6 figure grid reference for the site overlooking upper Ryedale but could find no trace. Apparently there is a small memorial at the spot but this could easily be lost in the shoulder high bracken. Perhaps a revisit in the winter would be more fruitful. I did find one piece of corroded aluminium but this was outside the 100m square indicated by the grid reference, just below the 350m contour.

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