Monday, 24 August 2009

Diggers Thwarted in Wales

New CADW guidelines (ISBN 978 1 85760 267 8) set out a rigorous code of best practice which should see the archaeologically worthless activities of the so-called "aviation archaeologists" pretty much stopped in Wales. Nice work, CADW!

The guidelines basically require excavation to be carried out in a professional manner, in accordance with the archaeologist's code of conduct, standard and guidance for archaeological excavation.

JBCs will not be featuring in future excavations.

They also intend to enforce preservation in-situ of nationally important sites, and the scheduling of crash sites as ancient monuments.

Amateur hour is over, boyos! And not a moment too soon.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside

Ribblehead Viaduct

Up onto yet another Whernside in Yorkshire, this one above the Ribblehead Viaduct (pictured). Interesting weather and light throughout the day, Mick got some good snaps.

A relatively easy walk, only 12k and not too much ascent to see a couple of WWII wreck sites. What with having had swine flu and so on, we weren't up for a mad yomp. Nice walk, and down in time for tea for once.

Despite High Ground Wrecks being as rubbish as ever in Yorkshire, we found both sites we were going for. I hadn't realised how much these two sites had been picked over by wreckologists until I did the post-walk research. Sad. But then they are sad.

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II DR306

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II DR306

What appear to be wing/ hardpoint components from this Barracuda torpedo bomber which crashed into Whernside on 15th December 1945.

There apparently used to be a big chunk of wing here, but it was probably stolen by the "York Aircraft Preservation Society".

What a fantastic name for an organisation which destroys wreck sites, it's worthy of George Orwell's 1984.

Of course like all of these loose associations of saddoes it has disbanded in time, and its stolen "treasures" have gone missing, who knows where.

Those imagined museums never come to fruition quite as you hoped, do they lads? Maybe a few pointless bits of tangled metal are collected in some unvisited Nissen hut somewhere, but more usually items (all too often stolen from war graves) are collected simply to be thrown out by your parents for those few of you who go on to get a life.

Don't imagine I'm implying that all involved are of school age, just that they probably live with their parents. And need to get a life.

Location SD 74201 80331

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II DR306

Fairey Barracuda Mk.II DR306

A drystone wall "repaired" with bits of torpedo bomber. Click on pic to zoom in if you can't see it.

I'm not sure I agree with the suggestion that this is supposed to be a wall repair.

It just looks like the standard farmer's trick of throwing bits of aircraft wreckage to the edge of the field to me.

Two reasons why I don't think it is a repair-there's no hole in the wall, and in the National Park farmers get paid to repair dry stone walls properly.

In National Parks farmers are more like caretakers, really.

Location:SD 74246 80387

More info

Armstrong Vickers Wellington Mk III BK347 Coded Q

Armstrong Vickers Wellington Mk III BK347 Coded Q

You missed a bit, anoraks! A lonely fragment of the eight and a half tonnes of bomber which crashed into the hillside on 21st April 1944 whilst on a cross country flight from Hixon.

There are closer shots of it over on the flickr site, I just liked way the sky looks in this one.

This may well be all that is now left above ground at the site, as it has been been serially looted since then by "enthusiasts", many of who amusingly refer to themselves collectively as "Preservation Societies", as discussed previously.

No-one outside the world of "aviation archaeology" knows where the rest of this 'plane is, and even in that world, no-one is telling.

Location: SD 74157 81562

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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mk. V T4136

Some "Aviation Enthusiasts" nearly came a cropper here.

The bomb was found in the bucket of their JCB, according to The Independent, so obviously good archaeological practice was (as ever for wreckologists) not the No. 1 priority!

I am led to believe Eliott Smock of "The Whitley Project" was the digger in question. Perhaps he would have been better to leave well alone.

He has said since the original date of the posting that he makes no claim to be an archaeologist, and is just digging to get parts to attempt to make a museum piece.

It's nice that he does not have the common delusions of grandeur, but even if you are a house-builder, wouldn't it be better to allow professional archaeologists to make the maximum possible use of your dig site?

If you are going to drive a digger through a crash site, you will irreversibly destroy the archaeological evidence.

Why not follow the new CADW guidelines, even if you are not required to do so by law?

More info

Location SE 889 818

Saturday, 1 August 2009

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106

The main pile of the still-extensive wreckage from this early jet-powered Fighter/Bomber which crashed on the slopes of Fan Hir, in the Black Mountains in Wales in 1953.

The pilot apparently let down through thick cloud without getting a fix on his position or requesting a radar-controlled descent, resulting in his death.

The wreckage constituted a more or less complete aircraft until 1986, since when the usual suspects have taken it upon themselves to "recover" some of it.

Location: SN 82641 20037

(There are also some big chunks of wreckage in a nearby gully around SN 8258 1990)

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106: Twin Booms

The Vampire's distinctive twin booms are well preserved at this site

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106

DeHavilland Vampire FB5 VZ106: Goblin 2 Turbojet Engine

The Goblin 2 turbojet engine from the aircraft is still in place, rather than serving as a garage ornament for some sad anorak as so many engines now do.

Location: SN 82641 20047

Avro Anson Mk. 1 L9149

Avro Anson Mk. 1 L9149

Second 'plane of the day. More or less all that remains of this Anson which became disorientated and crashed in thick cloud and rain on Fan Brycheiniog in January 1939 are these globs of formerly molten aluminium and rusty scraps of steel.

There is a memorial to this crash and the associated rescue operation at the church in Glyntawe, at the foot of these hills, as previously featured on our site

Location: SN 82499 21249