On the moors of Trotternish, just below the steep east face of Beinn Edra, lie the remains of a US Air Force heavy bomber - a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. It is a pretty bleak and remote location, and the walk in from Marishader is pathless and often boggy. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating place to visit if you are at all interested in such things.


B17 Flying Fortress

The wreckage is spread across quite a wide area around NG457632, right beneath the cliffs. It fell here after the aircraft flew into the top of Beinn Edra in thick fog on 3rd March 1945. The Flying Fortress was en-route from the USA to Italy, and was on a leg between Meeks Field in Iceland and RAF Valley in Anglesey when it somehow lost its way, coming in low over Trotternish on a westerly heading, presumably unaware of the high ground ahead.

The wreckage includes guns, engines, propellor blades, struts, undercarriage parts and many other things I can't identify. If you do visit, it's probably best to leave the parts undisturbed, and definitely right to not remove anything. All sites like this are, at least to some extent, memorials to the dead.

B17 Propeller Hub

All nine members of the crew perished, eight of them instantly. They were:

  • Paul M. Overfield - pilot

  • Leroy E. Cagle - co-pilot

  • Charles K. Jeanblanc - navigator

  • Arthur W. Kopp - radio operator

  • Harold D. Blue - engineer

  • John H. Vaughan - gunner

  • Harold A. Fahselt - gunner

  • George S. Aldrich - gunner

  • Carter D. Wilkinson - gunner

Their bodies were recovered and returned to the USA.

B17 wreckage