4th June 1944.
North American P-51B Mustang
555th Fighter training Squadron
P-51B Serial No. 43-12419 was allocated to the 555th Fighter training Squadron, 496th Fighter Training Group of the US 8th Air Force, based at Goxhill in Lincolnshire. On the 4th June 1944 it was being flown by 2nd Lt. Charles D. Nelson on a routine cross country training flight. At around 2100 hours he was flying on instruments in "zero zero" weather conditions over the North West of England. The local weather report indicated 8/10 cloud cover at 1200 feet and it appears that the pilot elected to try to let down through the cloud in order to check his position. Unfortunately he was over an area of high ground to the North West of Rochdale, known as Rooley Moor rising to a height of some 1500 feet. At 2117 (the time the aircraft's clock stopped), the aircraft struck the ground at about a 30 degree angle under full power, breaking up as it cartwheeled across the moor, the pilot suffering severe head injuries and being killed instantly.
Position Rank Name Service No Age Status Pilot 2nd Lieutenant Charles D. Nelson 0-701791 K.
The only fragment found believed to come from 43-12419
Nothing remains at the site today to mark this incident and despite identifying the area by matching the terrain to the crash investigation photographs taken at the time and carrying out a thorough and systematic metal detector search, no parts of 43-12419 could be positively identified. Only one local could be found who knew of the incident and he recalled how all the wreckage was carefully collected up and removed from the site leaving only a couple of small scraps dropped by the roadside when he went looking for a souvenier after the recovery team had left.
Nothing remains to mark the spot today.
Mike Stowe - Accident Reports, Mr. Conroy, Mark Sheldon, Alan Clark.
USAAF Report of Aircraft Incident.
This page Copyright © Nick Wotherspoon 2004