Review of ‘Peakland Air Crashes, The South’, by Pat Cunningham

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 7th November 2005, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

PEAKLAND AIR CRASHES, THE SOUTH
by Pat Cunningham

Aircraft wreck sites in the Peak are more readily associated with the high moors of Kinder and Bleaklow, but this newly published book by Pat Cunningham results from far wider research into the history of air crashes, in times of both war and peace.

Pat, a retired RAF and civil airline pilot, has carried out a great deal of groundwork and extensive documentary research to determine the locations of more than 70 crash sites around the Peak. With admirable efficiency, he provides details of each aircraft type and geographical locations of their wreck sites. Drawing on 40 years in aviation, he reconstructs the circumstances of each incident, fleshing out stories which will be known in part to many of our readers. Others may come as a surprise, especially their locations and surviving evidence.

Taking just a few sites at random, we learn of air crashes at Warslow, Bonsall, Tissington, Parwich, Starkholmes and Hartington. Especially tragic was the loss of 11 men in an endeavour to drop supplies to snow-bound villages in the terrible winter of 1947.

Some stories reflect amazing fortune, notably the survival of a lady who was in bed when an aircraft crashed through the roof of her Ashbourne house.

The author has interviewed witnesses to air crashes and located photographs taken at the time. A keen walker himself, his primary aim is to bring information to walkers who chance upon aircraft wreck sites in the area covered by this book, his first of three on the subject.

Peakland Air Crashes, the South is published by Landmark priced £14.99. It is available in local bookshops or to order by quoting ISBN 1-84306-186-4.

Review by Julie Bunting


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