Spitfire flypast at Horham Airfield

A SPITFIRE flypast will mark an emotional reunion at Horham Airfield's open day on Sunday. The event will see the first meeting between a Dutchman who saw a World War Two American pilot bailing out of his aircraft during the war and the airman's brother.

A SPITFIRE flypast will mark an emotional reunion at Horham Airfield's open day on Sunday.

The event will see the first meeting between a Dutchman who saw a World War Two American pilot bailing out of his aircraft during the war and the airman's brother.

Mike Darter's brother, Eugene, had to bail out of his aircraft – a B17 called The Lonesome Polecat II –during a bombing raid on 16 December 1943.

Cornelius Ellen saw Eugene and the crew parachuting out of the plane onto the Dutch coast but was unable to help as German soldiers were patrolling the beach.


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He was the last person to see him alive and it was Eugene's first and last mission. Four men from the Lonesome Polecat II were killed and six survived and were taken Prisoner of War.

The poignant meeting will take place during the airfield's open day when visitors can see the continuing restoration of the Red Feather Club – the Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) club building – which boasts unique wall paintings.

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The hospital museum will also be open, showing how service personnel were treated during the war. Light refreshments will be served from the former Guards Room - now Denham Village Hall.

The event is free and runs between 11am and 4pm. For further information call Horham Airfield on 01379 668458.

Other special guests coming to the open day are relatives of Col Dave McKnight, who was based at Station 119.

His sister Grace Hammesfahr, now treasurer and membership secretary of the 95th Bomber Group (BG) Association in USA, is being accompanied by his daughter, Nancy McKnight Smith.

The 95th BG of the USAAF were based at Horham between 1943 and 1945. They flew a total of 320 missions.

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