Memorial

A memorial was unveiled on the 19th May 1995 by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester dedicated to the memory of the allied airmen who lost their lives on the Cheviot Hills during the Second World War.

Being made of slate the memorial had worn very badly in recent years. A part of the wider RAF 100 celebrations to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force, a £25,000 project was launched to repair and upgrade the monument, with the fund-raising efforts led by the Alnwick and Rothbury branches of the RAF Association.

A new memorial, which is made of polished granite and bronze, was unveiled and rededicated, again by the Duke of Gloucester of the 6th September 2018.

History

During the Second World War military aviation expanded dramatically and a considerable number of the aircrew who flew the many different types of aircraft in RAF service lacked the depth of experience we enjoy today amongst our military aviators and this, coupled with the fact that the navigational technology of the day was still relatively rudimentary, meant that the Cheviot Hills was a place in the UK where some 58 airmen came to grief. Surprisingly, some 16 airmen survived the crashed.

Between 1939 and 1946 there were 19 crashes in the Cheviot Hills that were a direct result of the Second World War.

Cheviot memorial

Although there were sixteen different types of aircraft involved. Where the hills meet the clouds is not a good place for airmen to be and the fact the Cheviot hills were obscured by cloud account for most of the crashes.

A Hurrican that crashed at Linhope as a result of pilot error, a Bristol Beaufort which crashed a Brownhart Law as a result of engine failure and a Dornier 217E that crashed at Madam Law close to Trowupburn most probably was a result of being engaged by night fighters over Kelso.

Getting There

The RAF Memorial is located in the College Valley, opposite Cuddystone Hall. There is a free car park just beyond Hethpool.

From the South:
Leave the A1 for the A697 north of Morpeth, signed for Coldstream. Stay on the road until a couple of miles north of Wooler; at Akeld buildings there is a left turn signposted to Kirknewton and Yetholm. Turn left and follow the road for three miles. Go through Kirknewton and over the little bridge, just after the bridge there are some cottages on the left. At the end of the cottages turn left, signposted to Hethpool.

From the North:
Take the A697 south from the A68. Cross the bridge into England at Coldstream and through Cornhill and Crookham. South of Crookham take the second right – soon after the left to Ford Castle – Go past Flodden and over a cross roads, pass several buildings on your left and at the bottom of a hill where the road swings round to the right turn left, which is actually going straight on. Cross the river and when you come to a T-junction turn left. Follow the road past Kilham until you come to a row of cottages on the right, immediately before the cottages turn right signposted Hethpool.

And then…

Follow the road, which turns left at 90 degrees at the end of the farm and again at the bottom of the hill leading into the valley where the road to Throwupburn and Elsdonburn goes off to the right. Soon after this you will pass a turn to your left – which is the drive to Hethpool House and a row of cottages on your right with a sharp right hand bend at the corner of them, this is Hethpool. Go straight on across the next cattle grid and the car park is on your left.

Please note: if you wish to drive further up the valley you will need a car permit available from the office. Further details can be found here.

RAF 100 Crash Trails

Working in close collaboration with the staff of the Northumberland National Park, a series of ‘Crash Trails’ has been devised.

These trails are designed to allow those interested in exploring on foot the sites in the Cheviot Hills at which crews commemorated on the Cheviot Memorial came to grief during the Second World War.

Viewranger

These crash trails are linked by a series of digitalised routes using the Viewranger application. The app is familiar to many hill walkers and is used to display topographical, cultural and historical information.

The trails draw extensively on the work of local historians including the author Chris Davies, whose books give much detail of the circumstances and consequences of many of the crashes listed on the memorial.

The two initial trails were launched on the 6th September and offer a most appropriate legacy of the first hundred years of military aviation, fittingly telling stories from the 1930s and 1940s for today’s users using the technology of the twenty-first century.