Bravery of downed aircrew to be honoured at memorial
RELATIVES of a bomber command crew shot down over a Suffolk village in World War Two will be flying in from America next week for a special memorial service.
On April 22 1944, 26 United States Airforce B24 Liberator planes took off from Seething Airfield in south Norfolk for a bombing raid over Germany.
After surviving the raid the crew of Liberator 843 were returning home when, according to Technical Sergeant Kevin Wallace of RAF Mildenhall, they were pursued by enemy fighters and shot down over Kessingland near Lowestoft.
The plane burst into flames on impact killing all 10 of the crew.
“Sixty six years later, we’ve not forgotten them, in fact we will never forget them,” said TSgt Wallace. “Many of those heroes are buried near our base in the Cambridge Military Cemetery. Today, thanks to the hard work of dedicated people from Kessingland and RAF Mildenhall, they have a proper memorial at their final resting place in Kessingland.”
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The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, will hold a service for the 10 men and their families at St Edmunds Church in Kessingland on Thursday.
Kessingland parish council chairman Liam Martin said: “I offered to help trace the families and amazingly we’ve tracked down family from everyone of the 10 men who were killed. They all have their tragic stories - there are two daughters who never met their fathers because they were shot down so it will be lovely for them to see that their memories live on here.”
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A commemorative stone bearing the names of the 715 Bomber Group was set in place alongside the village’s war memorial in the grounds of St Edmund’s Church in November last year. On Thursday the families will witness a dedication service to the bravery of their relatives.
TSgt Wallace added: “Without the ultimate sacrifices these men paid to keep both my country and the United Kingdom safe, many of us would not be here today.”
The crew of B24 Liberator 843 Repulser were 2nd Lt Eugene V Pulcipher (pilot), 2nd Lt Elmer P Meier (co pilot), 2nd Lt George S Fahr (navigator), 2nd Lt William Carcelli (bombardier), Staff Sergeant Chester J Romanosky (radio operator), S Sgt James R Hardin (gunner), Sgt William H Durant (gunner), Sgt William S Davis (gunner), Sgt Maynard H Young (gunner) and Sgt Carl E Spellman (gunner).