Lockheed Neptune WX545

Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An RAF Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1 at Manchester (Ringway) Airport in 1953.


This is the Neptune variant featured on this page.


An RAF Lockheed Neptune at Manchester Ringway airport


Photo: RuthAS


Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.



BELOW: Another variant of the above aircraft: Lockheed SP2H Neptune at the RAF Museum, Cosford.


(On loan from the Helders Marinemuseum, the Netherlands.)


netherlands lockheed neptune on loan to raf cosford


Photo © 2005 BBC






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Lockheed P2V-5 Neptune MR.1  /  WX545



The Lockheed Neptune was designed as a maritime patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft.


Depending on the variant, the Neptune could be equipped with two Wright R-3350-26W Cyclone-18 radial engines; and, sometimes, with two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engines.


Some variants could carry rockets, bombs, depth charges or torpedos. Depending on their intended use, however, the Neptunes could be supplied with or without armaments.


The Neptune could reach a speed of just over 300mph, and could carry a crew of between 9 and 11 persons.


Until the advent of the Avro Shackleton, the RAF used these Lockheed Neptune aircraft with Coastal Command squadrons. They were employed for maritime (ASW) patrols, and for Airborne Early Warning and Control experiments.






Aircraft Accident Details


In October 1956, Lockheed Neptune WX545 of 36 Squadron RAF flew with six other aircraft to N. Ireland. The purpose was to carry out anti-submarine exercises at the Joint Anti-Submarine School (JASS) stationed at RAF Ballykelly (later to become Shackleton Barracks).


The aircraft arrived without incident and took part in these exercises.


On the 10 October 1956, however, during the return flight to RAF Topcliffe, and in heavy mist over the Scottish coast, Lockheed Neptune WX545 flew into high ground (Beinn na Lice) on the Mull of Kintyre, killing all nine crew.



For a more detailed account of this incident, please download this document. Includes contemporary crash scene photos. (Microsoft Word document.)






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The 9 who died were:

  • Flt Lt G. Finding, Pilot, RAF
  • F/O J. A. Campbell, Co-pilot, RAF

  • F/O G. Rishton, Navigator, RAF

  • Sgt C. Armstrong, Flt Engr., RAF

  • Flt Sgt R. Fox W/Op., RAF

  • Flt Sgt R. M. Noble, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt E. Honey, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt B. E. Lynn, Air Signaller, RAF

  • Sgt R. V. Smith , Air Signaller, RAF



Memorial Photos


Topcliffe Cemetery - Graves of the crew of R.A.F. Neptune Aircraft WX545.


memorials to crew of lockheed neptune


© Bill Lovelock and licensed for reuse under  this Creative Commons Licence.



BELOW: R.A.F. Neptune WX545 Oak Memorial Plaque - St. Columba Church - Topcliffe.


The interior of Topcliffe C of E Church showing the Memorial plaque, dedicated in 2002, to the crew of Neptune Aircraft WX545, based at R.A.F., Topcliffe, which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre with the loss of all 9 of the crew on October 10th 1956.


The plaque was made by Bob Hunter, who resides near Topcliffe village. Bob was an formerly an apprentice of the famous 'Mouseman', Thomson of North Yorkshire.


With his back to the camera talking to his son, is Ian Kirk. Ian had been a member of the unfortunate crew until a week before the incident. Ian died on 13th February 2010.


memorial plaque at st columba church topcliffe


Photo: 2008 Bill Lovelock


Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.



BELOW:  Memorial plaque at Beinn na Lice.


Memorial plaque at Beinn na Lice







Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Lockheed Neptune WX545. This was the aircraft that crashed close to Beinn na Lice on the Mull of Kintyre.


neptune wx545 before crash.


Photo: Courtesy, Alan Thomson



BELOW: Ammunition feed chute from the Neptune.


ammo feed chute.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: One of the Neptune's two Wright Cyclone piston engines.


a wright cyclone piston engine.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: The engine firewall from the aircraft.


engine firewall.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Part of the Neptune's fuselage.


part of fuselage.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Fuselage section stencilled F/Off J.R.C.


fuselage stencilled f/off.J.R.C.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Nose gear.


nose gear.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Propeller assembly.


propeller assembly.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Starboard wing. This photo was taken in 1982.


starboard wing photo taken 1982.


Photo: © 1982-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Starboard wing and engine. This photo was taken ten years later in 1992.


starboard wing and engine. photo taken 1992.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Starboard wing and self sealing fuel tanks.


wing self sealing fuel tanks.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Steven Spink and Alan Leishman with tailplane.


s.spink and a.leishman with tailplane.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Tail fin and tail plane.


tail fin and tail plane.


Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson



BELOW: Undercarriage.




Photo: © 1992-2014 Alan Thomson





Other Photos



BELOW: The impact point showing part of the wreckage of the Lockheed Neptune on the hillside at Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre.


part of the wrreckage from the Lockheed Neptune on the hillside


Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman



BELOW:  One of the two engines from Neptune WX545.


Neptune engine wreckage


Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman



BELOW: A section of the Lockheed Neptune's wing.


part of a  wing from the Neptune


Photo: © 1992-2013 Alan Leishman




























Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 10 Oct 1956


Accident Site:

Beinn na Lice


Region: Argyll and Bute (Kintyre)


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large town:



OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: Some larger sections of wreckage may still be found at the crash site (see photos below).



Other air crashes in this vicinity:


1) RAF A.W. Whitley Mk.V P5041 crash near Balmavicar, Mull of Kintyre, in 1941.


2) RAF Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook ZD576 (helicopter) crash at Beinn na Lice, Mull of Kintyre, in 1994.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: WX545


Operator: RAF (36 Squadron)


Operating Station: RAF Topcliffe (now, Alanbrooke Barracks)


Station Location: Topcliffe, Yorkshire


Current Station Status: RAF Topcliffe was taken over by the army and renamed Alanbrooke Barracks.


Current Station (Base) Name: Alanbrooke Barracks.





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