Tregonning Hill Aircraft Crash Site – Balwest, England - Atlas Obscura

Tregonning Hill Aircraft Crash Site

Balwest, England

A small stone memorial marks the spot where a Bristol Beaufort aircraft crashed in 1941. 


Around midday on September 26, 1941, a trio of Bristol Beaufort planes was dispatched from RAF St. Eval to the Bay of Biscay to intercept an enemy vessel. Two planes could not find the ship and one did but chose not to attack. Two of the planes returned safely, but the third plane hit poor visibility and whilst flying low hit the site of an old quarry named County Quarry on Tregonning Hill. The plane burnt up and killed the four crewmen on board: Pilot Officer James Richards Harrison, Pilot Officer Paul Francis Opperman, Sgt Harold Leslie Carter, and Sgt Dennis Albert Ryder.

Amongst the undergrowth at the edge of this quarry, a memorial was carved into the rock face for the four men who were on board the plane. This memorial seems to have faded into obscurity a little bit, there isn’t a mention of it on the ‘Balwest Heritage Society’ website, the group who carved it. The local council has a small mention of it online but asks, “please don’t attempt to go near as the terrain is dangerous.”

The memorial was carved sometime in the 1990s, possibly earlier, and at the time the path was likely much more permissive than it is now.

Know Before You Go

Access to Tregonning Hill is serviced by plenty of public footpaths, there is a path to the memorial and although it is a quarry it is not what you are picturing in your mind. There are no sheer drops from the path and the memorial can be seen from above if the moss has been cleaned off or accessed directly with some light climbing.

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