Hameldown Tor

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Photographed by Mark Bailey

The memorial commemorates the loss of Hampden X3054 of 49 Squadron which crashed into the hillside on the 21st March 1941.
The memorial was commissioned by Lady Marjorie Cecilia Wilson, the mother of the pilot (Robert Wilson).


The memorial was extensively restored in 1991 by the Torbay & District Aircrew Association.


A rubbing of the initials carved into the rock.

Pilot Officer R D Wilson (Pilot)

Sgt R Brames

Sgt R L A Ellis

Sgt C J Lyon

Images courtesy of Jane & Mark Bailey

Photographed by Mark Bailey


At sunset on a perfectly still Dartmoor evening on Monday 21st March, local residents Mark and Jane Bailey laid an Association wreath at the foot of the crash site memorial stone that stands 2¾ miles north of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, on Hamel Down. 70 years beforehand to the hour, six of the Squadron’s Hampden bombers had lifted from RAF Scampton and set course for the German naval base at Lorient, in occupied France. On return, Hampden X3054, experiencing problems with a radio that was unable to receive, struck Hamel Down at about 1400 feet and caught fire. Sgts Brames, Ellis and Lyon appear to have died on impact but Plt Off Wilson, the pilot, survived until the following day, presumably because he would have been strapped in. He and Sgt Ellis, the second pilot, lie next to one another in Exeter’s Higher Cemetery; the two air gunners are buried in their home towns. 21st March 1941 had been a night of 10/10 cloud at 2000 feet and it was concluded that Plt Off Wilson had probably intended to break cloud over the sea before crossing the coast, but was further north than he thought and hit high ground instead. A nephew of Sgt Lyons and a great nephew of Plt Off Wilson were located in the months prior to the anniversary but unfortunately neither were able to attend the wreath laying.