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GHOST PLANES OF THE PEAK DISTRICT OF DERBYSHIRE
The 24th March 1997 saw another in a long history of reported sightings of a propellor driven plane being witnessed flying low, in apparent difficulty and then seeming to crash on moors above Sheffield. A rescue operation was launched but, as has happened before, no trace of any plane or crash was found despite a search involving 100 volunteers and police.
This latest incident was witnesses by several people who dialled 999 when they saw a plane in trouble. They were watching the pass of the comet Hale-Bopp on moors which are far enough away from the city lights and pollution to give them a good view of the comet.
Gamekeeper Michael Ellison and his wife who live at Strines spoke of hearing an almighty explosion. A farmer has spoken of him instinctively ducking when the plane passed over his head. A former police special constable Marie France-Tattersfield has reported that she and her husband (a former pilot) saw a low flying plane plunge to the ground over Midhope Moors. They reported seeing lights on the wings.
There are several moors in the area but reports seem to centre on Howden Moors which cover quite a large area of the Peak District to the north west of Sheffield. Nearby features are the Derwent & Ladybower Reservoirs to the south of the area in question. This region has been the site of many plane crashes during and since the second world war. Over 50 planes have come to grief in this area. More than 300 people have lost their lives in these crashes.
One Captain Landon T Tranner and his crew perished in the crash of their B29 bomber in 1945. Two crashes at the end of the war claimed the lives of 13 airmen. On 18th May 1945, a Royal Canadian Lancaster bomber of 408 Sqn crashed at James Thorn on Bleaklow Hill. In July 1945, a US Dakota crashed on the same peak. A Superfortress and another Dakota have also crashed in the area. More recently (1993), a privately owned Hawker Hunter jet crashed on Broomhead Moor in a storm.
In April 1995, retired postman Tony Ingle saw the sun blocked out by the shadow of a plane 40/60 feet overhead. He could see the propellors rotating but there was no sound. He saw it banking and then it seemed to go down over a hedge. When he ran to the field, it was empty. His dog, which he was taking for a walk at the time, now refuses to go into that field.
Ron Collier is a local farmer who set up a group to study the sightings. He is regularly contacted by people who have seen ghost planes.
A group who used a ouija board obtained the names of the crewmen of the 1948 Fortress plane and a message that they were not at rest where they were. This could be a reference to the fact that bodies are not always recovered from crash sites. The crash site of the privately owned Hawker Hunter jet is still the resting place of the body of the pilot Wallace Cubitt who is believed to be entombed perhaps 30 feet below the boggy ground.
A farmer picked up debris from one site and stowed it in an outhouse until his son saw the barn almost shake itself to pieces. The pieces were returned and the incident has not happened again. Another man who recovered the ring of a crewman says that he has been visited by a ghost.
Somewhere, there is a book which gives the sites of plane crash sites in the Peak District. These sites still display the odd signs of debris at the scenes.
Re the 24/3/97 incident, an email has been received by this site, reporting that a local MP explained in the Houses of Parliament that this incident may be connected with an RAF plane breaking the sound barrier that night and that it may have been flying low in relation to the moors.
We reproduce here also a selection of emails received on the subject of the above:-
I remember visiting the Hendon aircraft museum with my son many years ago. An attender came up to us and explained that there were at times singular goings ons in the exhibition halls after dark; strong winds and various sounds. He ended by saying: 'If you think of the way some of these young men died, it is hardly surprising.'
The correspondent PC does seem a bit scathing - mediums and physicists seem to agree that matter can soak up and lock in energy.
With reference to the article on your web site, as an aviation historian & author on the subject of flying accidents, I thought I would just write to say that a few of the facts in your article : "GHOST PLANES OF THE PEAK DISTRICT" are incorrect.
For example. The B-29 Bomber as described on page 1. was not a bomber, unlike its WW2 counterpart. But a photo recon` aircraft an RB-29A or F-13A. Also it is mentioned on that same page that the aircraft crashed in 1945, when in fact it crashed on 3rd November 1948. The pilot was Landon `P` Tanner NOT Landon `T` Tanner. And the rumour that has persited that his ghost was seen near the crash site, I take to be utter nonesense, for it has been said, albeit not by you site, but local newspapers, that this airman, or perhaps an airman from the crash was roaming the moor. I might add that the crew of the F-13A were in a presurized cabin and there was no need for full flying kit. There is no such place as Bleaklow Mountain. There is a Bleaklow, or Bleaklow Meadow. The place where the RB-29 (F-13A) struck is Higher Shelf Stones, and the Lancaster on James`s Thorn is adjutant to Shelf Moor, where the C-47 Sytrain, US Military Dakota crashed on 24/7/45.
It says that another Superfortress crashed in the area. IT DID NOT. The only other American Fortress was B-17 Flying Fortress nr Meltham. The other Dakota was a DC-3 that crashed at Wimberry Stones, Kinder Intake, Dovestones, Nr Greenfield on 19th August 1949 killing 21 of the 29 passengers & crew on board, including the pilot Capt. Frank Pinkerton, a wartime Lancaster pilot with 12 Squadron RAF Bomber Command.
Ron Collier is not a farmer, but a Glossop aviation historian, he wrote the books `DARK PEAK AIRCRAFT WRECKS`.
My name, should you require any further info on the Peak District aircraft, is David W.Earl. I wrote the books : `HELL ON HIGH GROUND` Volumes 1&2.
Myself and my sister have seen a ghostly plane at Calver 3 times in the last few years. It was an old war type plane with propellers turning but totally silent, it was so low it was practically touching the roof of the Eyre Arms pub then it went below the level of the houses of Calver village. Other people saw it too as it was on radio Derby. We saw it here another night but in the dark it had all its lights on and again was low in difficulty but totally silent. The final sighting was again near Calver but this time it was directly above me on the Calver - Baslow road it was again silent and so low only 30 ish foot it banked to the left and then flew past me over a field so low I pulled over and watched it but it was just not there all of a sudden other people had seen it too as they too had stopped there cars. I cannot explain how this plane is so low and yet silent I just thought I'd share my sightings with you.
Dear Mr Day,
I was asking about your web-article, Ghost Planes of the Peak District, in order to discover the purpose for which it was compiled. Seeing that every provable fact in it is erroneous, is it possible that it was intended as a spoof? On the other hand there is no indication that you intended it to be any other than informative. And that is how I shall regard it in covering the subject in a special section in (title removed), expected to published in December 2006. As I shall be unequivocally scathing about your article, I naturally wanted to give you the opportunity of defending such an ill-researched and puerile piece of work.
PC came back to us in 2006 with another broadside (maybe "broadside" is the wrong term as we're talking aviation here; anyone know the right term?), possibly seeking some publicity for his forthcoming book, which we will not be giving in light of his offensive attitude. Here is his latest diatribe -
I had not anticipated coming back to you. But the manuscript of my (title removed) is now with the proof reader, which means that I have a final chance to ask if you have added any scholarship to your 2001 web article on ghost aircraft since I approached you on that head in March 2006.
You will appreciate that it is not your article's contention that ghosts -- even metal ghosts -- exist I find fault with, but the distortion of facts that are open to investigation. I have not, and have no intention of, revisiting your website -- which I hold to be one of those which so sadly devalues the web -- but, as before, I feel you should be offered the courtesy of explaining why you have ignored and distorted the facts; alternatively, afforded the opportunity of advising that you have put things right in the interim. My to-be-published references to your article are collated below:
More easily discounted are the vaporous utterances typified by the 2001 website, ‘Ghost Planes of the Peak District’, for these immediately disbar themselves by their overt sensationalism and duplicitous distortion of facts.
The fundamentally unsound ‘Ghost Planes’ article purported to focus upon the Broomhead Moor search-and-rescue operation of 27 March 1997, mounted after a widely-reported moorland explosion. The histrionic spin the article applied, however, was to imply that the authorities had been mystified to find no wreckage; alternatively, that they had been misled by a Ministry cover up.
... also the Longdendale Valley —‘the haunted valley’, as Ghost Planes’ associate votaries would have it.
I shall consider adapting my piece should your reply indicate that you have now actually researched the circumstances; but beyond this courtesy I have no intention of entering into further discussion with you: after all, your style of signing off last time, vis 'Roger Wilco, Over and Out', was so revealingly indicative of your unsuitability to write about any aspect of Aviation.
PC. DFM, author of (title removed) series ...
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