On 16th November 1943, a Wellington Bomber on a training flight crashed into Hurst Hill above Anglezarke Reservoir killing all on board. The aircraft based at Wymeswold in
Leicestershire was taking part in a ‘Bullseye’ exercise when it got into difficulty in the early hours of the morning.
The plane, Z8799 was piloted by an Australian, Flight Sergeant JB Timperon who was assisted by Sergeant ER Barnes, Sergeant JB Hayton, Sergeant RS Jackson, Sergeant GE Murray and Sergeant M Mouncey. All were killed on impact with the ground.
Allthough the night sky was clear, the conditions were extremely cold which in the days before de-icing could be as lethal as the worst weather conditions. It seems that the -15 degree temperature caused mechanical problems that ultimately led to the accident. The break up of the aircraft started some way from the crash site – one of the planes engines was found in Darwen, some time after the accident.
Today a stone pillar and plaque commemorates the event. It was erected in 1955 by the Horwich Rotary Club and is located at the top of a picturesque wooded valley known as Lead Mines Clough. The location is some way from the actual crash site but is a fitting
place to remember those that lost their lives- wreaths of poppies are still placed each year at the memorial. Interestingly, the date of the crash is wrongly detailed on the plaque.
There is a very good account of the event written by a local police officer who was on duty on the night of 16th November 1943 which can be found here.