Accident Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk IV K9039,
ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 22154
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:Wednesday 1 May 1940
Type:Silhouette image of generic whtl model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk IV
Owner/operator:51 Sqn RAF
Registration: K9039
MSN: AWA.1490
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:between Burn Fell and Dunsop Fell nr Slaidburn West Yorkshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Sealand, Flintshire
This 51 Squadron aircraft set out from Dishforth at 19.00 hrs on 30th April 1940 for an operational flight to Norway, at attack the airfield at Fornebu. On their return to Yorkshire the weather became poor and they became lost. Having made a number of requests for help they were passed various directions and distances to fly to bring them to various airfields but all failed, the last instruction was to direct to Sealand airfield, near Chester. The aircraft eventually crashed into high ground between Burn Fell and Dunsop Fell in the Slaidburn area on the western edge of the Yorkshire part of the Pennines having ran out of fuel in the early hours of the 1st May 1940. Sgt Coveney died at the crash site. After being taken to a hospital in Morecambe, Pilot Officer Gilmer died of his injuries the following day.

Crew of Whitley K9039:-
2nd Pilot : 41690 Pilot Officer John Martin Gilmer RAF from New Zealand (pilot, aged 23) Died of injuries 02.05.40; buried Dishforth Cemetery, Dishforth, Yorkshire
Observer : 580764 Sgt Walter Richard Coveney RAF (observer, aged 19) Killed in Action; buried Greenwich Cemetery, Greenwich, London
551589 AC.1 Peter Duncan Salmon RAF (wireless operator) injured
626669 AC.1 Hugh Maylin RAF (air gunner) Minor injuries
Pilot : 43417 Pilot Officer Edward Cotton RAF (co pilot) Leg and facial injuries (NCO:562018 Commission Gazetted : Tuesday 28 May, 1940)

Whitley K9039 was built to contract 522438/36 by Armstrong Whitworth Ltd at Baginton and was delivered to 6 M.U. (Aircraft Storage Unit) at Brize Norton on 3rd July 1939 and then issued to 51 Squadron at Linton on Ouse on 18th November 1939. It moved with this unit to Dishforth on 9th December 1939. Cat.W/FB was recorded following the above accident on 1st May 1940 and it was struck off charge on 6th May 1940

NOTE: The official Air Ministry report into the incident (File AIR 81/189) gives the crash location as "Waddington, Lancashire". Waddington is a small village, 2 miles north-west of Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, at approximate co ordinates 53.887°N 2.417°W


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain,1976 p 75)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/189:
3. David J Smith 1997 High Ground Wrecks and Relics: Aircraft Hulks on the Mountains of the UK and Ireland Page 39
11. Rob Davis Bomber Command Losses Database

Revision history:

04-Aug-2008 09:55 Anon. Added
04-Feb-2012 08:27 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Narrative]
04-Feb-2012 08:28 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type]
06-Jun-2019 20:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jun-2019 00:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
30-Apr-2024 06:48 Rob Davis Updated [Source, Narrative]
19-May-2024 11:11 Nepa Updated [Location, Narrative, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314