Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
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
Pen and Sword (
ISBN 9781781594735
RRP GBP £14.99


Ever since aircraft were invented aircraft wreck sites have had a magnetic appeal to the general population. Often the public have sought some kind of relic or memento from the site. The sites mentioned in the book are the tangible remains of historic aircraft that lie on moors and mountains of the British Isles. This volume concentrates on those wrecks on high ground and those which it does cover are the unofficial memorials to the fate of their crews.

These sites are infrequently seen by only passing walkers or dedicated enthusiast. They are now being recognised for their historical significance and this is especially true now that interest in the wartime past is growing.

Many of these locations are relatively unknown and often overlooked but they can be within reach of the average weekend walker. Armed with the data in the book they are now easily identified. Some are in remote areas whilst others are in inhospitable locations and these factors have helped to preserve the wrecks.

The guide covers about 500 sites with emphasis on those on “open access land”. It provides the careful planning and location data needed to undertake a trip to a specific site. Also included are a narrative on the circumstance behind the loss, details, names and fate of the crew members. There are recent photographs of the crash site and information as to what is currently there.

Important location co-ordinates are given in the form of accurate and verified Ordnance Survey (OS) map grid references and where appropriate references to those “scattered” major items of wreckage. There are also notes on how to find the site and how to understand it.

The volume is arranged by geographical area and it covers all of the upland areas of the British Isles. Each area entry has a brief narrative describing its peculiar geographical characteristics and aviation background. Factors and trends behind local concentration of sites are noted and so too are any especially significant incidents.

If visiting aircraft wreck sites appeals to you as perhaps a rambler, aviation historian or enthusiast, then this guide book is an essential part of your equipment. After reading the excellent coverage of sites in my local area it has inspired me to visit those local sites. I am confident that the book will appeal to other ramblers and it provides an excellent coverage of the topic. Only “happy wreck visiting” is left to say!

January 2014