During the Second World War, the airspace over the Brecon Beacons in Wales was used by the RAF and other Allied forces to practice manoeuvres. This region proved to be quite hazardous, though, particularly during periods of fog or low cloud cover. In all, more than 40 planes have gone down amid these mountains, and – with some parts of the Beacons miles from the nearest road – many of these wrecks remain.
The BBC programme Hidden Wales with Will Millard recently met up with Kevin Walker, a keen adventurer who has spent decades tracking down these remains. He led Will on a hike lasting several hours to one wreck on Carreg Goch – the remains of a Vickers Wellington bomber. The story of this flight is a particularly tragic one. During a night exercise on 20 November 1944, the bomber lost an engine due to ice formation and, struggling to gain enough altitude to clear the peak, ploughed into the mountainside. All six members of the Canadian crew lost their lives. Today this wreck, along with several others in the Beacons, stands as a monument, a tangible example of the enormous sacrifices that were made every day during the Second World War. But, unfortunately, many of these wrecks are slowly disappearing, with passing hikers frequently removing parts as souvenirs – now only the most isolated and difficult to reach remain.
Hidden Wales with Will Millard is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
Text: K Krakowka
Image: BBC Wales
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