Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Remembrance Sunday on Easby Moor

On Remembrance Sunday, a brisk stomp picking up the memorial on Easby Moor for the solemn service by the Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team has become an unspoken tradition. A simple plaque there pays tribute to the unfortunate crew aboard a Hudson airplane, their three lives ending on a bitter February morning in 19401Harro Ranter. 2013. ‘Accident Lockheed Hudson Mk I N7294’, Aviation-Safety.net <https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/22443> [accessed 12 November 2023].

They had embarked from Thornaby airfield at an early hour, ten past four, only to meet their fate as ice formed on their wings, thwarting their ascent over Easby Moor. Their mission was clear — head east over the North Sea, then pivot southward into the Heligoland Bight. Then, at daybreak, execute a daring low-level bombing run on enemy ships.

Regrettably, their flight ended prematurely, with their Hudson failing to clear Easby Moor’s rugged summit. A lone survivor, LAC Atholl Barker, emerged from the wreckage with both legs wounded. Undeterred, he clawed his way downhill, pausing for respite at the derelict Monument Mine buildings.

Around six o’clock, fate intervened as William Hodgson, a farmer at Borough Green Farm, stumbled upon Barker. The survivor’s desperate trek for help had found its saviour before the sun had risen.

I managed to snatch this photo early on without fully grasping its importance. Borough Green Farm can be made out just above the dry-stone wall on the right. Barker’s tale, unfortunately, didn’t conclude with peace; on another mission later in the war, his Lancaster bomber failed to return home when Barker was killed, finding his resting place in the solemn grounds of Hannover War Cemetery.



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