From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
B-29 Superfortress 'Overexposed'
Statistics
Category
County
Coordinates
Grid
Condition
Age
Cost
Military
Derbyshire
53° 27' 2.1" N 1° 51' 53.0" W
SK 0904294892
Poor
1948
Free
Map


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The Overexposed is a Boeing RB-29A Superfortress no. 44-61999 that crashed on Shelf Moor, Bleaklow in between Manchester and Sheffield, Derbyshire. It belonged to the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 91st Reconnaissance Group, 311th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, USAF.

The Overexposed tragically crashed at about 11am on 3rd November 1948 while descending through cloud. All 13 crew members died, it is doubtful they ever saw the ground. The time is estimated from one of the crew members wrist watch. The plane, piloted by Captain L P Tanner, was on a short flight, carrying mail and the payroll for American service personnel based at USAF Burtonwood. The flight was from Scampton near Lincoln to Burtonwood near Warrington, a flight of less than a hour.  Low cloud hung over much of England and which meant the flight had to be flown on instruments.  The crew descended after having flown for the time the crew believed it should have taken them to cross the hill. Unfortunately the aircraft had not quite passed the hills and struck the ground near Higher Shelf Stones and was destroyed by fire.

First on the scene were members of the Harpur Hill RAF Mountain Rescue Team, who had been in the area on training exercises when they picked up radio messages trying to locate the aircraft. Later on the same day, firemen from Glossop also attended the site but it was clear that there were no survivors. The following day, a large rescue team assembled to locate all the bodies and bring them off the moorland.

There are many cross shapes made from scraps of twisted and broken aircraft parts on the site, with poppies and wreaths. Scattered around are engines, rusting brake drums, wheels and undercarriage struts; elsewhere, a row of poppies have been planted beneath a section of the plane's wing. Time, weather and souvenir hunters have corroded and destroyed the massive pieces of the aircraft, but what is left make a strange and solemn memorial amid the wild bleak beauty of the moors.

The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II. As one of the most advanced bombers of its time, featuring innovations such as a pressurized cabin, a central fire-control system, and remote-controlled machine gun turrets; it was designed as a high-altitude daytime bomber, but flew more low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing missions. It was used as the primary aircraft in the U.S. firebombing campaign against Japan in the final months of World War II, and B-29s carried the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the test bombs at the Bikini Atoll. The B-29 remained in service long after the war ended, a few being employed as flying television transmitters for Stratovision.

Crew Members

Pilot - Captain Landon P. Tanner,
Co-pilot - Captain Harry A. Stroud
Engineer - Sergeant Ralph W. Fields
Navigator - Sergeant Charles R. Wilbanks
Radar Op. - Staff Sergeant David D. Moore
Radio Op. - Staff Sergeant Gene A. Gartner
Aerial Photographers - Tech. Sergeant Saul R. Banks, Sergeant Donald R. Abrogast, Staff Sergeant Robert I. Doyle and PFC William M. Burrows.
Acting Photo. Adviser - Captain Howard Keel
Passengers - Corporal M. Franssen and Corporal George Ingram