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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 89015
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I
Owner/operator:96 Squadron Royal Air Force (96 Sqn RAF)
Registration: N1766
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rowlee Pasture, West of Derwent Reservoir, Derbyshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Cranage, Cheshire
Destination airport:
Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I N1766, 96 Squadron RAF: Written off (destroyed) when crashed at Rowlee Pasture, West of the Derwent Reservoir.

On 13 April (1941) he and his air gunner had had to bail out of his Defiant at 3,000 feet over the Peak District in Derbyshire after engine failure. The aircraft's Merlin engine suffering a major coolant leak and eventual seizure. The two crew were carrying out a night air test from Cranage near Middlewich in Cheshire. The radio receiver suffered a partial failure which prevented the two crew from communicating properly with their base, this was followed by the aircraft’s Merlin engine suffering a major coolant leak and eventual seizure. At this point the two airmen abandoned the aircraft.

The two men came down not far from the crash site but in the darkness walked in different directions with one walking out to Alport and the other to the Derwent valley. Flying Officer Ritchie’s first encounter with the farmer whose door he arrived at was recorded in the 96 Squadron Operations Record Book.

Suspicious farmer: “Where have you come from?”
Parachutist: “I’ve just left my aeroplane up there”
Farmer (still more suspicious): “Are you British?”
Parachutist (A Scot): “Oh! Yes!”

F/Lt Rabone was killed while serving with No.23 Squadron on the 24th July 1944 and was buried at Hotton War Cemetery near Liege in Belgium

F/Lt Paul Watling Rabone - RZNAF (pilot)
F/O John Ritchie (Air Gunner)

During 1980 the aircraft’s Merlin engine was recovered from the crash site and after it had been cleaned was put on display at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Air and Space gallery in Manchester. It has since been transferred to the Nightfighter Preservation Trust at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington where it is on display in the Engine Hall.


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft N1000-N9999 (James J Halley, Air britainm 1977)
7. 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

Revision history:

14-Jan-2011 13:20 ThW Added
14-Jan-2011 13:42 ThW Updated [Registration, Location, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
12-Jan-2012 13:04 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Total occupants, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Aug-2013 17:54 JINX Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]
24-Aug-2014 14:50 Digger Updated [Operator, Departure airport]
17-Oct-2019 17:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Narrative]

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