Bravery of wartime airmen is honoured
The bravery of airmen who were killed when their bomber was shot down over a north Suffolk village was yesterday marked with the setting of a commemorative stone.Hayley Mace
The bravery of airmen who were killed when their bomber was shot down over a north Suffolk village was yesterday marked with the setting of a commemorative stone.
On April 22 1944, 26 United States Air Force planes took off from Seething Airfield in south Norfolk but before B24 Liberator 843 land back in Norfolk after a successful bombing mission over Germany, it was shot down over Kessingland, near Lowestoft.
The plane burst into flames and crashed in a field to the south of the village, and now the sacrifice made by the 10 crew who were killed on that fateful night has been officially marked.
Yesterday, a commemorative stone bearing the names of the 715 Bomber Group crew was set in place alongside the village's war memorial in the grounds of St Edmund's Church.
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John Blowers, who was 11-years-old when he saw the plane crash over the village, said: 'I was on my way home from a day fishing on the marshes when I saw activity in the sky and aeroplanes being shot at.
'As my friend and I got closer to the village, there was loud shooting and the whole plane just burst into flames. Within seconds, it was completely on fire. It turned over and then just seemed to fall out of the sky.'
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Mr Blowers never forgot what he had seen that night and he was inspired to raise money for a memorial to commemorate the lives which had been lost after seeing a similar marker stone in Blundeston, north of Lowestoft, where he now lives.
With the support of the Church Council and Kessingland Parish Council, more than �900 has been raised in donations to pay for the stone, which has been set on top of some small pieces of metal taken from the wreckage of the crashed craft.
The stone will be officially dedicated on April 22 next year, marking 66 years since the crash, and it is hoped that relatives of the airmen will travel over from America for the special service.
Parish council chairman Liam Martin said: 'I offered to help to trace the families and amazingly we've tracked down family or extended family from every one of the 10 men who were killed.
'They all have their own tragic stories, there are two daughters who never met their fathers because the men were shot down over Kessingland, so it will be lovely for them to see that their memories live on here.'
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).