The crash

The Wellington bomber was on a cross-country training exercise, flying from the airbase at Royal Air Force Lossiemouth to Tiree, when it ran into difficulties.

glenaffric crew

This photograph shows the crew of the plane who trained in No. 20 Operational Unit at RAF Lossiemouth.

The crew managed to report to base that the aircraft was in trouble before they lost radio contact. The pilot, Sergeant C Handley, then lost control of the plane as it began to ice up in bad weather conditions; the engine finally failed.

The pilot gave the order to "Bail out!" to the crew; they put on their parachutes and jumped.

Three of the crew landed safely on low ground between Ciste Dubh and Glengreavie. A further two landed on Colan Hill. The plane continued and crashed into Glen Affric.

Mr Henderson saw the crash and hung a lantern for any survivors to follow in the dead of night. The first three followed the light and arrived safely at the Hendersons’ house.

The second group stayed put until daylight but were relieved to find the others at the Hendersons when they arrived. However, the pilot was still missing. He was later reunited with his crew, having landed in Glen Culloch and gone in search of help for his friends

We only know these details because of Duncan MacLennan, who was one of the local men, along with Henderson, helped the stranded airmen.

Duncan made a written account of the event, from his own involvement and from what the airmen told them of their experience. A few days after the crash, Duncan tells us how he helped air force officers check the crash site area.

"On arrival the air-men buried the ammunition and destroyed anything of good in case it would be of some use to the enemy, should they land at Loch Duich." Duncan MacLennan