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Sunday, 30. April 2017

Down in Aberhafesp

The crash of Halifax bomber DG358 onto farmland at Glascoed, between Bwlch-y-Ffridd and Aberhafesp, on Sunday, 23rd January 1944, was the subject of Brian Poole's fascinating talk at the Village Hall on 17th September. This aircraft was one of eight, five Halifax and three Lancasters, which crashed in mid Wales during the period 1942-44, while on training flights.

The DG358 flew from RAF Faldingworth in Lincolnshire on an eight hour high level training flight, following a regular route across central England and mid Wales to the Irish Sea, returning to the base by the same route. Flying at 20,000 feet, it is thought that the pilot probably lost control of the aircraft after flying into a hail storm, which resulted in problems with icing, lightning and then engine failure. The aircraft crashed in daylight, at 2.40pm, and all nine crew members lost their lives.

The young pilots faced a number of hazards during their training flights, such as the lack of power in the aircraft, which meant that they were unable to gain altitude quickly enough to avoid mountains or storm clouds; radio aids were limited and together with the blackout meant many pilots became lost and disoriented; altimeters were not accurate in mountain areas and the de-icing equipment was rudimentary.

In 1998 Brian published a booklet on the air crash, and the following year he followed it up with a sequel. These are both available for loan or reference from Powys Library Service. [POOLE, Brian: Down in Aberhafesp: the story of the Halifax aircraft cash at Glascoed, Bwlch-y-fridd. Publishisher: Aberhafesp Church. 1998 and POOLE, Brian: A sequel to 'Down in Aberhafesp', a supplement. Publisher: Aberhafesp Church; 1999.]