[This report appeared in the Sleaford Standard on the 22nd June 2013. Click here for the original webpage.]
Fallen heroes remembered 70 years on
Seventy years on, a community has dedicated a lasting memorial to a Lancaster bomber crew that died in a tragic training accident.
Scredington parish church was filled to capacity for a service of dedication and remembrance held on Sunday morning to mark the unveiling of an official memorial stone to the nine airmen killed in a Lancaster crash on June 18, 1943.
The nine men listed on the memorial are: Sgt Nav Frances William Wilcox, Cpl Thomas John Ford, Sgt W Op Harry William Cheshire, Sgt Air Gnr Norman Woodcock, Sgt Henry Whitfield Luker, Sgt Nav John Roughley, Pilot Officer Max Keiran Cummings, Cpl Francis Neville Sloss and Fl Sgt Air Gnr Robert Allan Taylor.
The service was led by vicar of Scredington Rev Chris Harrington, joined by Archdeacon of Lincoln Tim Barker and Canon Peter Hall – chaplain for the National Service Association.
Lancaster ED439 OL-N of 83 Squadron was a ‘Pathfinder’ from RAF Wyton, near Huntingdon, testing out new radio equipment.
Neil Trotter, who lived at Highgate Farm in the village as a boy, saw the aircraft on fire before it crashed in a field near the farm, while John Porter, now living in Dorset, was one of the few residents to visit the crash scene. Both felt the need for a lasting memorial and eventually contacted Christine Pywell of Scredington Parish Council.
After two years of research and planning, the Sunday service saw a parade by Sleaford and Waddington Air Cadets joining Lincolnshire members of the National Service Association, which has funded the stone. Many relatives of the aircrew attended the event to pay their respects, including Bob Taylor from Canada, son of the rear gunner. Wreaths were laid in the church for each of the airmen lost. This was followed by a flypast by the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, dipping their wings in respect.
Neil Trotter said the project had seen a lot of assistance from a range of people, including the RAF Association’s genealogist, to track down surviving relatives and added: “At last we have come to the point where we can formally remember by way of a memorial service and unveiling of a memorial stone to nine brave airmen who lost their lives so tragically.”