Untold tales of the skies; NEW BOOK UNEARTHS STORIES OF AIR CRASHES IN NORTH.
Byline: By VINCE VINCE Vendor Independent Network Control Entity GLEDHILL
SOME were lost fighting for their country, others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But they all died in air crashes in Northumberland.
Now the untold stories of 29 crashes, the lives they claimed and the miracles of life, are recounted in a book by a team of aviation investigators.
They include the night horror fell from the skies over Ashington in 1940.
At 1.30am on June 6 a Bristol Beaufort
The Bristol Type 152 Beaufort was a large torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from the earlier Blenheim light bomber. bomber returning from a mission to Belgium, plunged into a colliery row, killing three members of a family called Cox and the aircraft's wireless operator and air gunner An air gunner (AG) is a member of an air force aircrew who operates flexible-mount or turret-mounted machine guns or autocannons in an aircraft. Modern aircraft weapons are usually operated automatically without the need for a dedicated air gunner, but bombers used to carry .
Two other members of the crew, one of them the pilot, bailed out and survived.
Other pilots were not so lucky. Some of the county's crash sites are well known and now have memorial plaques to the memory of those who died.
But other aircraft lay hidden until the Northumberland Air Crash Investigation and Archaeology Group unearthed Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.
Unearthed has had three incarnations - they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter - 41 regions in all. them.
The result of years of research by Russell Gray, Jim Corbett, Jonathan Shipley and Neil Anderson is their book Air Crash Northumberland.
Each of the 29 crashes, between 1930 and 1983, is listed with details of the aircraft make and type.
The story behind the crash and the people involved is told.
The description ends with information on the crash site, its location and what was found.
Most of the crashes happened in wartime, but seven more happened in peacetime.
They include one when a De Havilland Dragon Rapide The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a British short-haul passenger airliner of the 1930s. Designed late in 1933 as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon, it was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the four-engined DH.86 Express. went down at Simonburn Common in 1954.
It had taken off from Newcastle Airport with seven boxing hopefuls from Durham University on their way to Dublin. The pilot and passengers survived.
By pinpointing and investigating the crashes the team has been able to give news to families about lost fathers, uncles, brothers or sons.
"Some families had no idea what happened to their loved ones," said 27-year-old Jonathan Shipley, of Newbiggin- by-the-Sea.
He digs up aircraft history as a hobby. But he also has a family interest in the subject. His grandfather was a rear gunner and, after air gunnery training in Morpeth led a unit from which a Stirling crashed in the Cheviots in 1944.
The research has also helped to bring closure to a quest for information by relatives of Aircraftman First Class Denis Sharpe killed when his Handley Page Hampden The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force serving in the Second World War. With the Whitley and Wellington the Hampden bore the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and the crashed near St Mary's Lighthouse in 1940.
The book published by Countryside Books at pounds 12.99.
Details on www.countrysidebooks.co.uk
RESEARCH: From left, Neil Anderson, Jim Corbett, Jonathan Shipley, Russell Gray; FLASHBACK: a Hawker Typhoon and inset left, Jim Corbett with part of a Wellington bomber's wing and the book, Air Crash Northumberland, above right