Accident Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb EP651, Friday 4 January 1946
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Date:Friday 4 January 1946
Type:Silhouette image of generic SPIT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb
Owner/operator:10 AGS RAF
Registration: EP651
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:High Field Farm, Tirril, 3 miles SW of Penrith, Westmorland -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumberland
Destination airport:RAF Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumberland
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
EP651: Spitfire Vb. Built at Vickers-Armstrongs at CBAF (Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory) with Merlin 46 engine. Delivered to the RAF at 38 MU 19-7-42. First issued for service to 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron 22-8-42 coded "SD-R". To 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron 19-10-42 coded "TM-R". FAAC (Flying Accident Airframe Cat. C) 17-4-43. To Westland Aircraft at Yeovil, Somerset for engine change (Merlin 45M engine installed). To 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron 7-3-44 coded "DU-N". To 303 (Dywizjon Myśliwski "Warszawski im. Tadeusza Kościuszki)(Polish) Squadron 30-4-44, RAF Horne ALG, Tandridge, Surrey coded "RF-L"

On 5-7-44, piloted by Alec Dawson Payne, who was tasked to deliver Spitfire EP651 to RAF Ballyhalbert for overhaul, but had to make three circuits of Ballyhalbert airfield with the Air Speed Indicator unserviceable because the static pressure line was crossed. After repairs, he flew the aircraft from Ballyhalbert to Ouston with the undercarriage system unserviceable. and on landing at North Weald from Ouston the undercarriage collapsed.

After repairs, to 1 AGS (Air Gunnery School) 30-11-44. To 10 AGS (Air Gunnery School) RAF Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumberland 5-6-45

Written off (FACB - Flying Accident Cat. B) 4-1-46 when flying in cloud, on a cine-gun camera exercise, the aircraft's artificial horizon toppled, and the pilot became lost. When the aircraft ran out of fuel, the pilot crashed in a force-landing at High Field Farm, one mile south-east of Tirril, which is three miles South West of Penrith, Westmorland. Not repaired re-cat E and Struck Off Charge 23-1-46. The pilot survived with only minor injuries

Crew of Spitfire EP651:
Flight Lieutenant D. J. Powell, RAF (Service Number 191365).

It would appear that the often-reported crash location of "Firrie" [sic] was a transcription error made at the time on the Aircraft Record Card (Air Ministry Form 1180), and repeated by most published sources ever since. Further research in Carlisle Library turned up the following:

"Re your enquiry about Spitfire EP651 crashed at "Firrie", Westmorland on 4-1-46 I believe your correspondent picked up this wrong spelling from an Air Britain publication.

It happened at 11:40 hours on that date one mile south-east of Tirril near Penrith. The Spitfire was a mark Vb built at Vickers Armstrongs Castle Bromwich factory in 1942. It had served with 501, 504, 602, 303 Squadrons before being relegated to non-operational use and sent to 1 AGS and finally 10 Air Gunnery School which was based at Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness.

The pilot was 191365 Flight Lieutenant D.J. Powell who had flown a total of 581 hours in his RAF flying career with 286 hours on Spitfires. Two hours 30 minutes into a Cine camera exercise his artificial horizon instrument toppled during fighter affiliation tactics. Lost in cloud and short of fuel he eventually made a crash landing on Highfield Farm (I knew the Bowness family who tenanted this Lord Lonsdale owned farm), Although the damage was repairable, as there was a vast surplus of Spitfires at this time EP651 was struck off charge and scrapped."

According to the local Tourist Board website (see link #14) "Tirril is a small village on the road between Pooley Bridge and Eamont Bridge at the northern end of Lake Ullswater". According to Wikipedia "Sockbridge and Tirril is a small civil parish in Eden District, Cumbria. It comprises the adjoining settlements of Tirril, Sockbridge and Thorpe. All three were once separate places but are now, in effect, a single village. They are near Penrith. The two villages are separated by a river, at approximate coordinates 54.627°N 2.768°W"


1. Royal Air Force Aircraft EA100-EZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1988 p 29)
2. Halley, James (1999). Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.25 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
3. Final Landings: A Summary of RAF Aircraft and Combat Losses 1946 to 1949 by Colin Cummings p.24
4. p.6
5. "RAF Write-offs 1946": Air Britain Aeromilitaria 1979 p.93:


Revision history:

29-May-2021 21:54 Dr. John Smith Added
29-May-2021 21:54 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport]
30-May-2021 09:30 Kvit Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]
30-Jul-2023 20:14 Dr. John Smith Updated
18-Sep-2023 13:04 Dr. John Smith Updated

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