LAIT logo Mosquito NT544 - Keld

10th January 1946

Last updated: 14.11.2008

Type Unit Base Duty Crew Passengers
Mosquito NF30 54 OTU East Moor Night navex. 2 -

Mosquito NF 30 NT544, of 54 OTU based at East Moor, was on a night cross-country training exercise on the 10th January 1946 when it struck high ground West of Keld at around 20:00 hours and exploded. The aircraft appeared to have flown straight into the fell at cruising speed and was largely destroyed by the impact and the ensuing fierce fire. As no evidence of mechanical failure was found by an RAF investigation team and icing wasn't considered to be a factor, the accident was attributed to the crew having failed to maintain a minimum clearance altitude of 2000 ft AGL as they had been briefed.

Name Position Status
Flt.Lt. T.A. Roskilly Pilot K.
Flt.Sgt. S.A. Whiting Navigator K.

The pilot was Flight Lieutenant Thomas Abel Roskilly, who noted as being a very experienced airman and his navigator for the flight was Flight Sergeant Sidney Arthur Whiting. Both crew were killed instantly in the crash, although according to witnesses they apparently sustained few visible injuries, leading to local speculation as to the cause of the accident and whether they may have attempted to bail out.

My wife trying to look enthusiastic with part of NT544

Propeller reduction gear (now gone)

Only a few scattered parts remain to mark the crash site today - most of the wooden airframe was no doubt consumed in the fire. A de Havilland propeller constant speed unit and a dinghy CO2 inflation bottle were recovered several years ago by the author and are in the LAIT collection, but most of the parts seen at that time have now disappeared. As the site is close to that of Halifax L9619 and both were similarly Merlin powered it is likely that some parts have become mixed up, particularly as the recovery crews for both incidents probably used the same access route and dropped parts along the way.

Only Small parts remain to mark the site today.


Acknowledgements:

Chorley W.R. (RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol.3), RAF Form 1180. David Hanson, Alan Clark, Mark Sheldon (Recent photos).

 

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