Home at last – Great fun with the Grand kids. Flying Fortress crash and the Ben Nuis Chimney in Arran.

I got home late last night after a great few days down South visiting Lexi and Ellie Skye a birthday and a double baptism and meeting so many kind people. The weather held and even the weather held for all the important things and the kids enjoyed the party. 35 kids having fun and without a care in the world a great sight.  My health held out and though really tired it all went well and 6 weeks after my operation I am slowly getting better. These kids give me such joy and the innocence of young kids is incredible and the love they give is heartwarming it will be so hard for me to get back to normal!

Everest photo R Bale.

Everest photo R Bale.

I have a game of golf this morning and then hope to sort out some gear to send through the Kinloss Barracks to Nepal the tragedy continues and the need is great it every day it gets worse and brings you down to earth with a huge bump.

I was asked to give some information on the Aircraft Crash on Ben Nuis is Arran

This is from a great web site = Aircraft Crash sites in Scotland.  http://www.aircrashsites-scotland.co.uk/boeing_b-17g_nuis.htm

This particular B-17G was attached to the 388th Bombardment Group (H), 560th Bombardment Sqn 136 of the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces).

USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress / 42-97286

Aircraft Type Nickname: “Flying Fortress”;

At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a non-operational NAVEX and familiarisation flight for a new crew. The B-17 was en-route from its base at Knettishall Airfield in Surrey to RAF Ayr / Heathfield (Prestwick) on the west coast of Scotland.

According to the official Report, weather conditions at the time of the accident were, “Light rain and snow. Visibility 4-6 miles. Ceiling variable, nine-tenths at 2,000ft to ten-tenths at 1,500ft. Some low cloud present. Wind east 13-18 miles per hour.”

As the aircraft turned to begin its final approach to Prestwick, it came in too low over the high peaks of Arran. Subsequently, and while in full flight, the B-17 struck a rocky cliff at the east face of Beinn Nuis, not far from Goatfell on the Isle of Arran.


Despite intensive searching, however, the crash site was not discovered until 3 March 1945—almost 4 months after the accident had occurred. The cause of the accident was recorded as “Unknown.”


  • Captain John N. Littlejohn Jr., USAAF, (Captain / Pilot Instructor)
  • 2nd Lt Robert N. Stoaks, USAAF, (Co-Pilot)
  • 2nd Lt William J. Frey, USAAF, (Navigator)
  • 2nd Lt. Leonard W. Bond, USAAF, (Bombardier)
  • 2nd Lt Jack D. Merkley (passenger)
  • 1st Lt Richard William (Billy) Rosebasky, (Navigator Instructor)
  • Cpl Joseph A. Payne, (Engineer)
  • Cpl Albert E. Thomas (passenger)
  • Major James R. Bell, (MO / passenger)
  • M/Sgt Charles S. Brown, (groundcrew / passenger)
  • S/Sgt Wade D. Kriner (passenger)


The aircarft is all over the Coire and the Nuis Chimney  holds some wreckage  – A grand, steep, vegetated face best in winter. The Strand (V,6) is a fine exposed climb across a slabby buttress. The Ben Nuis Chimney is a classic VS with full body tweed essential. In winter it freezes and is superb (V, 6) –  “After slipping and sliding on the first pitch, which was probably the most difficult, we carried on, through leading to the top of the chimney, and then on jubilantly to the summit. An USAF Liberator had crashed into the face in 1944, and there were still bits of the plane jammed in the chimney here and there. I notice the chimney is now graded VS.”

I had a fun attempt with the late Al MacLeod and had a bit of an epic in the wet and ruined all out waterproofs on the rough granite.





About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Expeditions - Alaska - Himalayas etc, Family, Friends, Himalayas/ Everest, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Home at last – Great fun with the Grand kids. Flying Fortress crash and the Ben Nuis Chimney in Arran.

  1. Pingback: Scotland in Miniature | runroorun

  2. Donald Watt says:

    Glad you had a good time in England shire, grandkids are magic, I saw some of the wreckage on Ben Nuis in the late 1950’s .still a lot of snow on the Ben

    Liked by 1 person

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