Ian Pearce graphically recalled, with contemporary photographs, the events of 1940 when a Lockheed Hudson that had just taken off from RAF Thornaby crashed on Easby Moor, close to Captain |Cook’s monument. Ian also described the people involved & the reasons for the accident. Dr Pearce is an engineer by profession & was employed by ICI & Durham University before his retirement. One of his interests in retirement was local history & he is a prominent member of Great Ayton Local History Society. One of his projects was the investigation of this aircraft crash..
The Hudson, code letters NR-
Immediately after takeoff, the aircraft was struggling and unable to gain speed or height. After turning towards the North Sea, the aircraft struck the hillside at Easby Moor at a glancing angle, skidding up the slope, through a wall at the top & coming to rest in a group of larch trees. The gap can still be seen to this day & is exactly 60 feet wide, the wingspan of the Hudson. Three of the crew perished. The fourth, the air gunner, miraculously survived, as did Polly, one of the pigeons. Atholl Barker was initially unconscious but revived & crawled in search of help with two broken ankles. He was found at 06:00 by William Hodgson at Borough Green Farm who sent his son to raise the alarm.
The cause of the accident emerged when another Hudson was almost lost in similar circumstances. Ice had formed on the aircraft wings while it was standing outside in freezing weather. Even a thin layer of ice was shown to be sufficient to cause disastrous loss of lift. De-