Relatives attend dedication ceremony at UK’s remotest war grave
11 June 2014
Almost seventy-five years after they died, an RAF crew has been
remembered in a moving ceremony at one of the remotest war grave
sites in the Scottish Highlands.
Pilot Officer William Drew, Sergeant Jack Emery, Sergeant Harold
Arthur Tompsett, Flying Officer James Henry Steyn (DFC), Sergeant
Charles McPherson Mitchell and Flight Sergeant Thomas Brendon Kenny
were killed when their Anson plane crashed on Ben More Assynt in
Due to the inaccessibility of the crash site, the crew were
buried on the mountain - their final resting places marked with a
cairn. The crew were commemorated by the CWGC on a memorial
in the nearest graveyard at Inchnadamph Old Churchyard, 20 miles
north of Ullapool.
In 2012, the CWGC decided to replace the existing cairn, which
had deteriorated on account of the harsh climate, with a granite
marker weighing some 600 kilograms, to identify and protect the
aircrew's burial site from becoming lost or disturbed in the
future. The work was completed in the summer of 2013 with the
assistance of a number of partners, including the Royal Air Force,
who assisted with the use of a Chinook helicopter to airlift the
new marker, tools and materials onto the mountain.
Relatives of the men joined representatives from the CWGC, RAF
Lossiemouth, Assynt and Dundonnel Mountain Rescue Teams, and Air
Cadets for a dedication ceremony at the grave site at 14.00 hours
on 12 June.
Squadron Leader Alastair Armitstead RAFVR, who organised the
dedication ceremony said: "I know how pleased some of the relatives
are that the CWGC has managed to get a formal memorial on the site
and that they will look after it for evermore. It is rewarding and
reassuring that almost 75 years after these men died, there is a
fitting tribute at their grave.
"On the day, local Air Cadets and Mountain Rescue team members
helped relatives, who were able, to make the long trek to the grave
site and back. Those unable to make the journey took part in a
memorial service in Inchnadamph."
The CWGC has kept the families of the crew informed throughout
the project and for Bernie Tompsett - nephew of Sergeant Harold
Arthur Tompsett - the new memorial has been a great
comfort. He said, "It was a time when so many families
learned of the tragic loss of their loved ones…Perhaps we are
fortunate that they came to rest in such a beautiful part of