Accident Airspeed Oxford Mk I PH242,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 24926
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Date:Monday 7 January 1946
Type:Airspeed Oxford Mk I
Owner/operator:21 (P) AFU RAF
Registration: PH242
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Hay Bluff, Lower Sapey, near Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire
Destination airport:RAF Seighford, Staffordshire
Airspeed Oxford Mk. I PH242, 21 (P) AFU RAF: Written off (destroyed) 7 January 1946 when crashed at Lower Sapey, Hay Bluff, near Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire: While cruising (possibly having strayed off the pre-briefed course) at an altitude of 2,000 feet in poor weather conditions, the Airspeed Oxford hit the slope of a hill and crashed.

The aircraft encountered heavy snow and flew into the 677-metre (2,221-foot) Hay Bluff, just 10 metres below the ridge. The radio operator, Flight Sgt G Robinson, was killed. The pilot, Flying Officer A F Hopewell, was rescued by a local farmer after Warrant Officer Monk managed to walk to New Forest Farm at Cusop for help.

The aircraft was destroyed. Prior to departure, the crew was instructed to fly above the minimum safe altitude of 2,500 feet but was flying below this for unknown reasons (possibly due to the prevailing weather conditions). Oxford PH242 was engaged in a night BAT (Beam Approach Training) Flight; the aircraft should have been recalled, but failed to either receive or act on the signal.

Crew (21 (P) AFU):
Warrant Officer E. G. S. Monk, pilot, survived (injured)
Flying Officer Arthur Hopewell, instructor, survived (injured)
Flight Sergeant Gordon Robinson (Wireless Operator) Service Number 1819645 aged 19 - killed on active service 07/01/1946, buried at Bulwell (Northern) Cemetery, Bulwell, Nottingham

A scar near the top of the ridge, containing small pieces of Oxford PH242 was still present in August 2010; these are fire damaged, which indicated that the Oxford either caught fire on impact (or was destroyed by fire during the recovery operation). The crash site is approximately 50 metres from the Offa's Dyke footpath. In 1972, substantial pieces of wreckage (including both Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah engines) were recovered by 2478 Squadron, Air Training Corps

Lower Sapey is a village and civil parish in the Malvern Hills District in the county of Worcestershire, England. Hay Bluff (Welsh: Penybegwn) is a prominent hill at the northern tip of the Black Mountains, an extensive upland massif which straddles the border between south-east Wales and England. The mountain sits at the point where the main northeast-facing escarpment of the Black Mountains meets the northwest facing escarpment, the next peak to the west being Twmpa. The flat summit of Hay Bluff which is marked by a triangulation pillar at a height of 677 metres (2,221 ft) overlooks the middle Wye Valley and the book town of Hay-on-Wye.

The hill is largely within the Welsh county of Powys though parts of its eastern flanks lie within the English county of Herefordshire.


1. Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.25. ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft PA100-RZ999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain)
3. The Oxford Consul & Envoy File (John F Hamlin, Air Britain, 2001 p 190)
4. Brecon Beacons National Park, 1995, Identification Guide Aircraft Crashes in the National Park, ID 22
5. Aircraft Wrecks: The Walker's Guide: Historic Crash Sites on the Moors and Mountains of the British Isles by Nick Wotherspoon, Alan Clark, Mark Sheldon (P 35)
6. "RAF Write-offs 1946": Air Britain Aeromilitaria 1979 p.94:
7. 21 PAFU RAF ORB for the period 1-7-1943 to 31-7-1947: National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR29/549/4:
14. Photos of crash site and wreckage 22/8/2010:

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
02-Sep-2013 22:14 JINX Updated [Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Damage, Narrative]
18-May-2015 17:36 King Updated [Operator]
30-Jul-2017 22:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Nov-2019 02:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Nov-2019 02:26 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
30-May-2021 20:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
29-Jul-2023 20:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [[Source, Narrative]]

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