Accident Supermarine Spitfire Mk I K9888,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 88954
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Date:Tuesday 18 July 1939
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Supermarine Spitfire Mk I
Owner/operator:41 Sqn RAF
Registration: K9888
MSN: 60
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Great Dun Fell, near Appleby, Cumberland, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Catterick, Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Kingstown, Cumberland
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
First Flown 19/1/39. Delivered to RAF Duxford for 66 Squadron, 30/1/39. Transferred to RAF Catterick for 41 Squadron 4/5/39.

The pilot of this aircraft was undertaking a cross country navigation exercise, and left Catterick aerodrome at 10:56 hours to fly over the Pennines to an airfield on the western side. Dumfries was quoted in the pilot's inquest, whereas Kingstown airfield, Carlisle, is also quoted in a number of more modern documentations of the incident.

The pilot was instructed to fly a direct route across the Pennines probably through the Stainmore gap. On leaving Catterick he passed Bowes which would suggest taking a route across Stainmore towards Brough, towards Appleby and then to Carlisle which would take him clear of the Cross Fell area. The aircraft was flying over the Appleby area when it encountered a bank of very thick fog. The pilot had been briefed to return to base if he came into cloud and it was thought that he had cleared the hills, but decided to turn back towards Catterick and while he was making the turn the aircraft flew back into the hills, striking the ground on Great Dun Fell.

The pilot was killed in the accident just after thirty minutes after leaving Catterick. Workers at nearby Silver Band Mine were the first on the scene having heard the the aircraft fly overhead and then the crash higher up the hill. Workers set out from the mine to try and locate the site, in the thick fog this took some time but sadly nothing could be done for the pilot when they found him.

The flight commander at Catterick was later blamed for this accident as he had not ensured the weather forecast was suitable before authorizing the flight although no action was taken as the pilot probably left it too late in turning back towards Catterick.

Sgt (740241) Kenneth Mitchell RAFVR - killed.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft K1000-K9999 (James J. Halley, Air Britain, 1976 page 80)
2. Flight magazine 29/7/39 page 84:

Revision history:

12-Jan-2011 04:11 angels one five Added
25-Dec-2011 04:40 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Narrative]
10-Jan-2012 15:29 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Location]
15-Jan-2012 02:10 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Departure airport]
22-Jan-2012 19:23 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type]
22-Jan-2012 19:24 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
06-May-2012 11:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-May-2012 00:23 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
04-Nov-2012 16:56 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Narrative]
17-Nov-2013 05:27 JINX Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
18-Dec-2013 18:23 Nepa Updated [Operator]
23-Apr-2014 08:38 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Nature, Narrative]
06-Jun-2015 20:11 Gun Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
26-Jan-2018 00:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
10-Mar-2018 17:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Mar-2018 17:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
20-Feb-2019 06:23 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
16-Apr-2023 17:48 Nepa Updated [Location, Destination airport, Operator]

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