Lancaster

Lancaster bomber crash

Ilkley Gazette 9/11/45. Canadian killed in Ilkley bomber crash. Injured Sergeants Gallant work on Beamsley Beacon: At noon Monday 5 Nov Lancaster bomber – heard to pass low over Ilkley flying in Northerly direction crashed into south slope of Beamsley Beacon. 4 killed, 3 badly injured and 1 man injured but staggered 1 mile down the slope to a farmhouse to summon help. Hit hillside with tremendous force twisted propeller 1/4 mile from fusilage. Lurched upward & forward as it hit the hillside breaking up and bursting into flames. Heat melted metal. Visibility in fog 50 yards – the pilot “came down to have a look and crashed” – so said the least injured survivor Sgt Joseph Patrick Balenger. He was taken to Coronation Hospital with head injuries, shock and exhaustion. He returned to his unit later that week. He arrived at Black Hill Farm (Mr & Mrs Billan) and then to Black Foss Frame (Gill family) who phoned the police. 3 badly injured to Coronation hospital then to High Royds. The plane crashed into steep bank of wet heather over boulders and past a succession of small quarries. The heather was set on fire by leaking fuel. Fire died away after two hours. Even the stretcher bearers got lost returning to the ambulance. They could hardly see as thick fog and had to communicate by blowing whistles.

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