RAF Kinloss MRT 1950 – 1959 Incidents and photos.

This is a copy of some of the incidents involved in the RAF Mountain Rescue Team at RAF Kinloss during 1950 – 1960. These were still early days in Mountain Rescue when Rescues were done by local Police, climbers.the SMC, keepers, shepherds and ghillies and the RAF Mountain Rescue Service. The equipment used was very basic and there were no phones, GPS and most of the gear was home made or ex military from the war. Yet there was a huge explosion in walking and climbing with many pushing boundaries with primitive  gear especially in rock climbing and winter climbing equipment. These were days when the leader did not fall and if they did it could be fatal. The roads were still basic and a trip to Skye was a long event no Bridge in these days. Even Glencoe had a ferry and access was tricky yet this was an explosive time in Scottish Mountaineering. The Mountain Rescue equipment was improving and Hamish MacInnes, Donald Duff and others were at the forefront of Mountain Rescue big changes were coming in Stretchers and climbing gear as the results of gear failures like axes breaking when used as belays in fatal accidents. Avalanches were being proved to happen in Scotland and people climbers were getting caught up in them, contrary to the popular belief that they did not occur in the UK. We owe so much to these pioneers at the time.


The RAF MRT Training Handbook a text book for a long time of Rescue Teams.

During this period the Lancaster Crash on Beinn Eighe in 1951 was a huge event and as it happened in full winter huge lessons were learned by the RAF Teams .The RAF teams which were still mainly made up of National Servicemen on a 2 year stint. Training improved as did the gear and the Team Leaders were trained by some outstanding mountaineers of the day. A training manual set out basic skills for Mountain Rescue published by the RAF Mountain Rescue and became the bible of the day for Rescue.

in 1956 a Sycamore helicopter was used in the recovery of a Canberra aircraft crew near the summit of Carn Sgaigart Mor, this was the one of the first times the helicopter was used for such a task. The shape of things to come. If you look through the incidents they show that there is an increase in climbing accidents and you will see that morphine was used in Glencoe for the first time on a casualty and that an avalanche was recorded on Lochnagar. The RAF team were now involved in a lot more civilian accidents and were at the time the first port of call for the Police to assist on a Rescue. One can only imagine the time taken to carry off a casualty from and accident big long efforts with limited man power. We follow in the footsteps of so many unassuming heroes, locals , climbers and the Police.


“Times they were a changing”

Just have a look at some of the incidents during the period 1950 – 1959


Ser No




20-1/50 May Skye Missing walker. No info yet on Cullins
21-2/50 05/03/50 Buachaille Etive Mhor. Glencoe.


Climber fell whilst glissading in D gully.  Fell 250ft and sustained broken leg.  Carried off via the summit, took 24hrs.  The first time morphine was used.

1950 Total: 2       Nil aircraft. Mountaineering 2.  1 Rescued.


Ser No




22-1/51 03-10/02/51 Glendessary Missing Factor. Found 4 months later.  Fatal.
23-2/51 11/03/51 Beinn A Bhuird Coire na Ciche


Walker fell 900ft through cornice. Fatal.
24-3/51 14-16/03/51 Beinn Eighe


Lancaster crash.  Team on standby for two days before search commenced.  Various searches until 28th August.  8 bodies recovered over four months.  This incident had a huge impact on the equipment and training of RAF MR service.
25-4/51 06/12/51 Dava Moor GR 27/903388 Airspeed Oxford V3910 crash.  1 fatal.
26-5/51 31/12/51 Ben Alder – Corrour Disaster


Four male walkers died of Hypothermia.  Only female in party survived.  All casualties evacuated by train.

1951 Total: 5. Aircraft crashes-2.  Mountaineering-3. Recovered-16 Fatalities 15. Rescued-1.




RAF Kinloss MRT at the Beinn Eighe Lancaster Crash – Photo Joss Gosling look at the gear.This was a huge learning curb for RAF Mountain Rescue.



Ser No




27-1/52 19/03/52 Ben Nevis


RAF Edzel MRT member carried off with spinal injuries.
28-2/52 16/03/52 Ben Nevis


Fallen climber. Major injuries  Gardyloo gully. Tech.
29-3/52 19/03/52 Ben Nevis


Fallen climber.  Observatory Ridge.  Carried off from CIC hut.  Tech.
30-4/52 26/04/52 Coire an Lochan

No 4 Buttress


Fallen climbers.  2 male’s dead and 1 female with broken legs. This was a party from Glenmore Lodge climbing 4 Gully buttress
31-5/52 19/05/52 Dava Moor Four missing boys from Moray Sea school.  Turned up safe and well.
32-6/52 13/06/52 Isle of Skye

Sgurr Dearg


Fallen climber.  Died of injuries.  2-day search and 2 days to recover body. Team searched in Loch Scavaig boat chartered to take team. Difficult recovery. Tech.
33-7/52 10/08/52 An Teallach


Fallen walker body recovery below a gully on Sail Liath, below bad step. Tech

1952 Total: 7 Recovered-12 Alive: 8 Fatal: 4. Technical: 4    Aircraft crashes: 0.

          Forces mountaineering: 1



1951 – Beinn Eighe Lancaster Wreckage in the Corrie. Photo Joss Gosling


Ser No




34-1/53 25/01/53

Aonach Dubh



Fallen climber.  Fatal.  Tech.
35-2/53 17/03/53 Ben Nevis


Lost control whilst glissading.  Fractured shoulder.
36-3/53 2-7/04/53 Ben Nevis

South Castle Gully

Six-day search for two avalanched climbers. They left kit in CIC hut and not returned. Team climbed N&S Castle, 2, 3 & 4 gullies. Casualties found when snow melted below N&S Castle gullies. 2 Fatal.  Tech First photos of probing in Uk/ PROBES MADE IN RAF Workshops. 
37-4/53 06/04/53 Dava Moor

Burn of Glen Chealaidh 28/108410

RCAF Sabre Aircraft crash.  Fatal.1
38-5/53 10/04/53 Stob Coire nan Lochan

Twisting Gully

Fallen climber with fractured spine and skull.  Stretchered out.  Tech.
39-6/53 24/05/53 Buachaille Etive Mor Fallen climber with dislocated ankle.  Stretchered out.
40-7/53 27/05/53 Buachaille Etive Mor

Easy Gully

Climber found unconscious and Stretchered out.  Died in hospital.  Tech.
41-8/53 31/05/53 Creag Tarsuin


One of a group of novices, climbing unroped, fell and received multiple injuries.  Stretchered out.
42-9/53 09/07/53 Ben Nevis Meall a t’Suidhe 16 yr old male climber fell and sustained severe lacerations.  Stretchered out
43-10/53 11/08/53 Clachaig Gully Climber fell and sustained a knee injury.  Stretchered out.  Tech.
44-11/53 16/08/53 Parallel B Gully


Fallen climber.  Rope broke. Fatal.  Tech.
45-12/53 19/08/53 Sgurr nan Gillean Fell near summit.  Fatal.  Tech.
46-13/53 11-16/12/53 Sound of Mull Sweep searches for wreckage of Shackleton aircraft. Team found over 100 items including 1 fatality. A previous aircraft wreckage on Beinn Tailladh was found and the team had no knowledge of this aircraft, which crashed at the end of the war.

1953 Total Callouts 13: Recovered-14.Alive 6, Fatal 8, Aircraft 2, Technical 7, Mil AC Crash 2,




Six-day search for two avalanched climbers. They left kit in CIC hut and not returned. Team climbed N&S Castle, 2, 3 & 4 gullies. Casualties found when snow melted below N&S Castle gullies. 2 Fatal. Tech First photos of probing in UK/ PROBES MADE IN RAF Workshops.


Ser No




47-1/54 05/01/54

Ben Nevis


NE Buttress Slipped on steep snow.  Fatal.  Body found in Coire.  Tech
48-  2/54 07/01/54 Ben Fhada


Lost control whilst glissading.  Fatal.  Tech.
49-3/54 17/01/54 Ben Nevis – Coire Na Ciste A 16yr old girl slipped and lost control on steep snow.  Sustained fracture of the skull and spine. Stretchered off.
50-4/54 24/01/54 Ben Nevis

Comb Gully


2 climbers fell past an RAF MRT party.  Both suffered head injuries.  Morphia given and both Stretchered off.  Tech.
51-5/54 22/02/54 Liathach Team member fell 250ft from tourist path.  Badly bruised.  Walked off.
52-6/54 10-11/03/54 Elgin Missing child.  Found dead in river.
53-7/54 14/04/54 Cairngorms


6 missing skiers found safe. Team searched north side of Ben MacDui in very poor weather.
54-8/54 19/04/54 Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge

Fallen climber.  Died of injuries.  Body taken up the ridge and Stretchered off. Extremely technical incident. Tech. This Call out Joe Brown and Don Willians recovered the cas from below the Great Tower in an all night rescue.  Good Account in 2 Star Red and Don Willians autobiography. The Kinloss officer i/c offered these 2 outstanding mountaineers assistance on how to climb the Gap. The day before they had climbed the first ascent of Sassenach!
55-9/54 12/04/54 Cairngorms

Cairntoul Garbh Coire


Team called out in poor weather driving snow and high winds to 2 fallen climbers stretchered off. 12 team members carried casualties 10 miles (hardy men)
56-10/54 26/04/54 Cairngorms

Shelter Stone


Fallen climber stretchered out.  Six hour carry out.
57-11/54 17/05/54 Dava Moor 6 sea scouts found safe and well.
58-12/54 25/07/54 Cairngorms


Glenmore Lodge and the KMRT rescued 2 crag fast climbers collected and walked off.  Night call out.
59-13/54 6-7/09/54 Cairngorms Search for missing aircraft. Harvard aircraft on route from Kinloss – Leuchars
60-14/54 14/09/54 Cairngorms Search for missing doctor and son.  Found safe and well.
61-15/54 19-20/12/54 Ben Nevis

NE Buttress


5 Royal Navy from Lossiemouth was killed in a glissading accident descending the Carn Mhor Dearg Arete.  This was one of the reasons behind the abseil posts, put up by the team.
62-16/54 22/12/54 Cairngorms


Search for 2 missing army officers.  1 found dead and the other semi conscious Strath Nethy.
63-17/54 21/02/54 Liathach

Spidean A Choire Leith


1 KMRT member fell on the ridge 250ft, leader climbed down to him, very badly bruised but walked off. Winds reaching 100 mph were recorded. Lucky man.

TOTAL 1954 Callouts 17; Recovered-30 Alive 19 Fatal 11 Technical 5, Aircraft 1, Military Mountaineering 2



Ser No




64-1/55 19/02/55 Tomintoul Area Search for 3 missing Hydro linesmen.  Turned up safe and well. Roads closed very deep snow
65-2/55 12/02/55 Ben Nevis Search for 5 missing Sandhurst cadets in two groups. (Chris Bonnington).  3 fell down South Trident Buttress.    2 benighted in South Gully III below cornice.  Frost bitten.  Tech.
66-3/55 06/03/55 Sgurr Alasdair


Whilst descending the Great Stone Chute 2 climbers slipped and fell 280ft sustaining multiple injuries, fractured femur.  1 stretchered off.  Tech.
67-4/55 23/05/55 Ben Nevis

NE Buttress


Search for 2 American climbers.  Found dead, roped together.  Tech.
68-5/55 14/06/55 Cuillins

Coire Na Creiche

Search for missing climber.  Found exhausted.
69-6/55 23/09/55 Glencoe

The Chancellor

Rescue of 2 fallen climbers.  Probably the most difficult rescue carried out by Kinloss up to that time. Tech.
70-7/55 29/12/55 Cairngorms


5 members of an Edinburgh TA unit slipped on a snow slope and sustained injuries, head, fractured collarbones, morphia given.  3 stretchered off. Some of the party wore Wellington boots!
71-8/55 14-15/2/55 Ben Nevis Fallen Sandhurst cadet, descending 4 gully – severe head injuries carried off by winter course –died in hospital.
72-9/55 19/3/55 Ben Kilbreck


RNAS Trainer Vampire aircraft both crew killed
73-10/55 20/10/55 Ryneckra – 20 miles West Granton On Spey RNAS Metor crashed 1 killed

TOTAL 1955 Call outs: 10, Recovered-24 Alive 18, Fatal 6, Aircraft 2 – Tech 4



1956 One of the first SAR Incidents RAF Sycamore Helicopter on the Canberra Crash on Carn Sgaigairt Mor

Ser No




74-1/56 22/11/56 Carn an t Sgairt Mor


Search for a missing Canberra aircraft and the recovery of 2 bodies. One Of Ray Sunshine’s Seftons first call outLocals & RAF Leuchars RAF Kinloss on call out . Crew recovered with assistance of a RAF Sycamore Helicopter! Early Rescue/ Recovery in the mountain by Helicopter.GR
75-2/56 25-28/12/56 Ben Nevis

Carn Dearg



41/159727 Last fatality

Search for 4 missing climbers.  3 found on second day at top of the Castle Gully’s.  Number 4 was found below 2 days later.  All fatal.  Bodies lowered off steep ground.  Tech.  The 3 metal shelters were built after this call out.  They were removed in 2004.


TOTAL 1956 Callouts: 2. Alive nil, Fatal 6. Technical 1, Aircraft 1



############18/08/1956 Garbh Bheinn Allan Grout killed whilst on team exercise, not in callouts









1956 Team Member Alan Grout killed rock climbing in Ardgour .

























Ser No




76-1/57 09/01/57 Glencoe

Stob Coire nan Lochan


Recovery of female climber’s body from Twisting Gully.

700ft of lowers. (Tech).

77-2/57 24/02/57 Fort William Search for 4 missing members of RAF Leuchars MRT.  Turned up safe and well.
78-3/57 20/04/57 Ben Nevis

Tower Ridge

Recovery of fallen climber. Fatal. (Tech).
79-4/57 21/05/57 Kinlochleven Search after the report of an explosion and fire on the hill.  Nothing found.
80-5/57     02 –05 08/57 Isle of Skye

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich 32/450212

Recovery of fallen climber.  Body lowered off.  (Tech).
81-6/57 7-8/09/57 Ben Nevis Ben Nevis Race.  6-stretcher case evacuated.  Search and recovery of one dead runner.

TOTAL 1957 Call outs: 6, Alive 10, Fatal 4, Technical 3, Aircraft nil.






Ser No




82-1/58 8-9/03/58 Ben Nevis


Fallen walker Carn Mor Dearg Arete.  Fatal.  (Tech).
83-2/58 24/03/58 Ben Nevis


Fallen climber found dead after 18 hours of exposure.  (Tech)
84-3/58 04/04/58 Glen Carron

Sgurr Na Feartag

Search for a 16 yr old school boy.  Turned up safe and well.  4 troops injured when 3 tonner rolled off the road at Achnasheen.
85-4/58 06/04/58 Ben Nevis


Two climbers fell whilst descending Carn Mor Dearg Arete.  Stretchered out at night.  (Tech)
86-5/58 10/04/58 Ben Nevis


3 missing climbers found at the foot of Zero Gully.  Fatal.  (Tech). Belay failed, ice axe, recovery party included Hamish Mc Inness and Tom Patey
87-6/58 15/04/58 Cairngorms Search for a missing RAF Group Captain.  Turned up safe and well after a trip to Ben MacDui.
88-7/58 15/05/58 Cairngorms


Glenmore Lodge party overdue. Search for missing girl who was found safe sprained ankle near Braeriach.
89-8/58 26/05/58 Isle of Skye

Sgurr Alasdair


Evacuation of girl climber with a broken ankle in the Great Stone Shoot.
90-9/58 22-23/06/58 Handa Island 3 missing persons from dinghy. Search by team along cliff and shore.  Not found.
91-10/58 02/08/58 Isle of Skye

Sron na Ciche


2 injured climbers evacuated from Central Route HS, leader fell 50 FT.  Rope burns and broken ankle. (Tech) Cas taken off by boat after along stretcher carry
92-11/58 10/08/58 Isle of Skye

Loch Coire A Ghrunda


3 injured climbers. A schoolmaster plus 2 children.  One child died and the others sustained serious injuries and were stretchered off.  (Tech).
93-12/58 29/11/58 Inchnadamph


Missing shepherd found by a collapsed path with fatal head injuries.
94-13/58 30/11/58 Arnisdale Search for 2 missing men who turned up safe and well.
95-14/58 19/5/58 Loch Droma


Missing walker walked off himself

TOTAL 1958 Callouts: 14, Alive 14, Fatal 7, Technical 6, Not found: 3; Military: 1










Ser No




96-1/59 04/01/59 Glen Doll Disaster

44/ 235775

Joint search with Leuchars MRT for 5 missing walkers.  Only one body was recovered from the snow.  The other four bodies were recovered over the next three weeks. See 2 Star Red- 5fatalities
97-2/59 08/03/59 Ben Nevis


Recovery of two naval personnel with spine and leg injuries.  Stretchered off from CIC hut. 2 Live
98-3/59 5/4/59 Liathach – 25/920577-Faserianen Pinnacles Fallen Walker –lower off gully 500 ft to cas then lower into Corrie, very difficult Rescue for Team. Most of the top men involved. See Two Star Red. 1 Fatal.
99-4/59 05/05/59 Dava Moor


Sea Hawk crash.  1 fatal. Drynachan Lodge.
100-5/59 28/07/59 Torridon

Ben Damph


Recovery of crag fast schoolboy stuck on ledge for 27 hours.  Recovered safe and well.  Lowered off.  (Tech).
101-6/59 22/08/59 Glencoe

Bidean nam Bian


Fallen climber with head injuries.  Stretchered off from Collies Pinnacle.  (Tech).
102-7/59 05/09/59 Ben Nevis


Collapsed Ben Nevis racerunner stretchered off from summit on a rope stretcher.
103-8/59 10/11/59 Kingussie area Search for missing Scimitar aircraft XD281 807Sqn.  Aircraft crashed near Ben Vorlich.  GR57/620163.

TOTAL 1959 Call outs: 8, Alive 5, Fatal 7, Aircraft 2, Technical 2, Mil Mountaineering 2.

 Total Call – outs: 1950-1959= 84

“The kit on the outside and the equipment may have changed.
Underneath the heart and soul of the teams remains the same”



















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 Aircraft incidents, Articles, Avalanche info, Equipment, History, medical, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Munros, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to RAF Kinloss MRT 1950 – 1959 Incidents and photos.

  1. Peter Aikman says:

    Hi Heavy, your list reminds me of an episode at an Easter, but I can’t remember 1958/59/60.
    I was at Corrour with two pals, when we saw an RAF team pounding up the glen towards the Ghru. About 1/2 hour later a police team came up. One came over asked if we had seen someone reported missing, and would we join them for the day. Off we went up into the Garbh Choire, which was filled with snow, .and they gave us rods to poke at anything dark. We actually had a great day out in superb weather. At lunchtime these three underage laddies were introduced to whisky by the Braemar police at the back of the Garbh Choire. We didn’t find anything, and I believe a body was found several miles east when the snow melted.

    Liked by 1 person

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