ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 161923
Last updated: 5 February 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Bristol Blenheim Mk I
Owner/operator:17 Operational Training Unit Royal Air Force (17 OTU RAF)
Registration: L8610
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Garn Wen, Brecon Beacons, Abersychan, 4 miles NNW of Pontypool -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire
Destination airport:RAF Llandow, Glamorgan
Took off from RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire for a navigation exercise to RAF Llandow, Glamorgan. On 23rd September 1940, the aircraft was being flown on instruments alone in bad weather and hit the summit of Garn Wern at around 425 metres at around 15:10 hours, this being in the SE corner of the Brecon Beacons, near Abersychan, 4 miles North North West of Pontypool. All three crew on board were killed:

Sergeant Hubert Henry Wilson (Pilot) (Service Number 745159, aged 22) - killed. Buried Bury Cemetery, Huntingdonshire, Row C. Grave 22.
Pilot Officer Anthony Drake Coplestone (Observer) (Service Number 84720, aged 29) - killed. Buried Boldre (St. John) Churchyard, Row 1. Grave 1.
Sergeant John November. (Wireless Op/Air Gunner) (Service Number 938877, aged 20) - killed. Buried Yardley Wood (Christ Church) Churchyard, Sec. F. Grave 110.

The official course of the accident was placed as pilot error, but investigations at this stage of the war were not as thorough as perhaps they could have been.

On the eastern boundary of the South Wales Coalfield, near Abersychan, lies Mynydd Garnclochdy, 427 metres high leading to Garn Wen, 448 metres high. Garnclochdy is known locally as the Devil's Heap of Stones. According to legend, this area was a favourite haunt of the Devil, not only did he leave his footprint, but his chair sits on top of the heap. The niece of the pilot placed a memorial at the crash site in year 2000. In Garndiffaith (Garnteg Primary School) Gwent, Wales, a Memorial plaque and trophy shield on display in the school foyer remember the crew of Blenheim L8610 (see links #9 & #13)


1. Brecon Beacons National Park, 1995, Identification Guide Aircraft Crashes in the National Park, ID 26
2. Doylerush, E, 2008, Rocks in the Cloud: High-Ground Aircraft Crashes in South Wales, p.107 and p.111
10. Memorial at crash site:

Related books:

Revision history:

06-Nov-2013 14:17 Nepa Added
16-May-2019 18:48 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
25-May-2019 10:41 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description