Timely memorial for tragic airmen

IT has taken nearly seven decades to build the memorial that many feel is long overdue – but at last there is a permanent reminder of the tragic end of a heroic wartime plane crew.

A B-17 Flying Fortress bomber came down in the village of Redlingfield, near Eye, shortly after take-off from Horham Airfield on November 19, 1943.

The bomber, part of the 95th Bomb Group, had been heading out on a raid when it was grounded at Green Farm, killing all 10 of the crew and sending flaming debris flying into the thatched farmhouse.

Now Redlingfield Parish Council has unveiled a new memorial to the airmen at a special ceremony, after raising the �2,000 needed.

Three veterans of the 95th Bomb Group made the poignant – and nostalgic – visit back to Suffolk to see the unveiling which took place on Saturday.

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And a lone Dakota transport plane – the “taxi of the skies” during the Second World War and into the post-war era – flew over the ceremony to mark the unveiling.

The memorial has a granite plaque set into a brick wall.

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Janet Norman-Philips, chairman of the parish council, helped to lead the fundraising efforts and said the events of nearly 67 years ago were still remembered in the village.

She said: “The plane was taking off and it had a problem and lost height and crashed. It landed literally just behind the farmhouse and lots of the plane ended up in the farmhouse because it virtually disintegrated when it landed.

“It was fully loaded with all its bombs and was full of fuel and couldn’t have crashed at a worse time. The boys on the plane were so young, the youngest was just 19.”

As well as the wartime veterans, the modern-day USAF was also represented at the ceremony by F15E Strike Eagle pilot Lt Col Brent Vosseller from the 48th TFW at RAF Lakenheath.

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