Memorial planned for remote war grave on Ben More

Crash site and war grave Wreckage from the plane near to a cairn that marks the war grave

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Efforts are being made to contact the families of six airmen buried at one of the most remote war graves in the UK.

The crew from Scotland, England and South Africa died when their Avro Anson crashed on Ben More, a mountain in the north west Highlands, in April 1941.

It was almost a month before their bodies were found.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission wants to let their families know that a memorial is to be placed where the men were buried close to the crash site.

The crew were flying their twin-engined aircraft on a night-time cross country navigation exercise out of RAF Kinloss in Moray on 13 April.

They crashed at 701m (2,300ft) on Ben More, a Munro near Inchnadamph, in Sutherland.

Avro Anson fact file

  • The RAF flew Avro Ansons from the 1930s to the late 60s
  • The plane was nicknamed Faithful Annie
  • The RAF used it for hunting German u-boats and as a trainer

Those who died were: Pilot Officer William Drew, from Barrow in Furness in Cumbria; Sgt Jack Emery, of Trowbridge in Wiltshire; Flt Sgt Thomas Kenny, from Barnsley in Yorkshire; Sgt Charles Mitchell, of Aberdeen; Flying Officer James Steyn, from Johannesburg; and Sgt Harold Tompsett, of Croydon in Surrey.

Because of bad weather and the remoteness of the area, their bodies were not discovered until 25 May.

The CWGC is writing to the last known addresses of the airmen's next of kin to try to let the families know that a granite memorial is to be placed at the war grave.

A stone slab for the memorial has been ordered. It will be placed over the grave to preserve its integrity.

The burial site is marked by a cairn and pieces of the wrecked aircraft can still be found nearby.

Iain Anderson, the commission's supervisor in Scotland, was guided to the crash site by David "Heavy" Whalley, a former RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team leader.

Following his inspection of the area, Mr Anderson said: "I wouldn't have found it easy to get there without David.

"It really is miles from anywhere."

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