The Diary of Joss Gosling written in 1951 on the Beinn Eighe Crash. Part 1.

This was from a personal diary of Joss Gosling of the Beinn Eighe crash of the Lancaster aircraft that crashed in 1951.

Basic Gear Photo Joss Gosling Collection

The Lancaster Crash on Beinn Eighe (A copy ) from the original diary of Joss Gosling who was a young Team member of the RAF Kinloss MRT in March 1951 on the Lancaster Crash in Beinn Eighe in which all the Eight crew died.

When reading this please remember this was winter 1951. Equipment was very basic as was the training given to the RAF Mountain Rescue Teams. Maps were basic as were weather forecasts there were limited communications between hill parties that seldom worked.

Joss (who wrote this) was not a Team Leader just a troop in the early 50’ s doing his National Service . He was typical of that time where you had to serve in the military as part of National Service . A that time Mountain Rescue was a great escape from the military at weekends in the hills.

Joss Gosling was one of the RAF Kinloss Team who as a very young man wrote these words in his diary. He gave me a copy many years ago and copies of the unique photos he took. It is a look into a very different world from today.

Joss passed away a few years ago and I still miss him.

Joss”s Diary – Wed 14 March 1951

At 0600 a tannoy message told us to report immediately to the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue section where we were informed that D for Dog was due back at midnight but was still missing. We packed all of the kit onto the vechiles And were told to return to work but be at immediate readiness. (There was no news of where the aircraft could be )

Thursday 15 March – on Standby at Kinloss

Friday 16 March – on Standby at Kinloss

Sat 17March – Left Kinloss at 0830 for Kinlochewe because of a report by an aircraft of a wreckage on the ridge of Beinn Eighe. We camped behind the Kinlochewe Hotel and at 1430 left for Lochan an Iasgaich from where we walked along a deer path between Liathach and Beinn Eighe searching the sides with glasses( binos) but with no luck. Another party reached parts of the wreck in Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

Sunday 18 March – We started at 0800 walking from Bridge of Grudie along the track in Glen Grudie and across the shoulder of Ruadh Stac Mor into the wildest Corrie that I have ever seen. At the back end Three Buttress’s towered into the mist there height being approximately 800 feet. At the foot of the right hand buttress on the steep slope which was covered in snow was a the Port wing and undercarriage. Scattered round were two engines and various cowlings. A party of four attempted to climb the Right hand gully but the ice conditions and mist prevented them. The search was abandoned due to the weather conditions and we returned to base at 1530.

Monday 19 March – Returned to the Corrie to find that the wind had brought down the Starboard-wing and various parts of the main plane but there was no sign of the fuselage. Another party tried to reach the ridge, they reached higher than yesterday attempt and reported seeing the burnt remains of the fuselage but could not reach it. Returned to Base at Kinlochewe.

Tuesday 20 March 1951 – returned to Kinloss until snow conditions improve to reach the Fuselage.

Friday 30 March 1951 – We travelled back where we followed the track through to Corrie Dubh Mor until a weak point was found up the South side of Sail Mor. It consisted a steep scramble then a snow field right on to the ridge. Before us was rising into the mist was the buttress which we had seen from Coire Mhic Fhearchair along which the ridge continued. Don and Gavin climbed to the top and then asked for three more troops with a rope. Mike, Junior and I asked to go we reached the top of the “ Ugly step” to find the others with one of the bodies ready to be lowered into the big gully. Because of the conditions it was tricky climbing back down. The body was lowered by rope and the rest of the party escorted it down a snow slope 1200 feet to the track below. We arrived back at our base wet through and ver tired but happy to know we had achieved something this time. ( The body was left near the track as it was dark by now from an interview by Joss )

Sunday 1 April – We left Base and divided into two parties , four people continued to the top while the rest of us brought the first body down on the stretcher to the track in Corrie Dubh. From there a pony carried it to the road and we returned to camp.

Don, Gavin, Mike and Bob reached the top they dug out 3 bodies and brought down 2 to where they had left the first one under very tricky snow conditions.

Monday 2 April – Today we brought two more bodies down to the path for the pony . Three climbed to the top for another body, two continued with the body and six of us climbed round the shoulder to Sail Mhor into the Corrie to see if the aircraft tail had come down all they found was a wing tip. The snow was extremely bad very deep, we returned by Bridge of Grudie and back to Base.

Tuesday 3 April – We brought the 4 th body down to the track for the pony. The weather was too bad to reach the top-and we returned to base at about 1300 hours.

Wednesday 4 April – Andy and I left Bridge of Grundy for the Corrie nearing the Corrie we had to shelter from a very heavy storm which lasted for 15 minutes. We then made for the shoulder and climbed into the Corrie which was completely in the mist. We decided to return because visibility was down to nil and a high wind and snow. Another party attempted to reach the top from the other side of the hill but the high winds and weather prevented them.

Thursday 5 th April – We returned to Kinloss to find the funeral in progress of three of the crew. We will return when the weather improves.

Photo Joss Gosling Collection

To be continued:

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Equipment, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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