Brookwood Military Cemetery/Lytchett Minster Churchyard/Glasgow Western Necropolis/ LANCASTER CRASH

Discussion in 'War Grave Photographs' started by STAN50, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    We will be holding a small commemorative service on Sunday 24th April at the memorial site starting at 11am.

    (Space Makers Safestore 572 Ipswich Road Colchester CO4 9HB)

    This will last about 15, maybe 20 minutes. Afterwards we will cross the road and unveil the new 'Lancaster Approach' road sign which leads into the new housing development being constructed. So maybe another 5 -10 minutes there. Two of the other road signs representing the WW2 airmen's names are now also in position, these are 'Francis Gunn Close,' and 'James Mayger Chase.'

    WW2 RAF Bomber Command veteran Peter Potter will unveil the Lancaster Approach road sign.

    Our local newspaper have kindly covered this again. The photo shows a media image from 2013 before the unveiling ceremony of some of those who supported the memorial.

    The mention of a model plane in the article is in fact a metal silhouette of a Lancaster bomber which we've had made and we'll hopefully have permanently fixed in place before the 24th.

    Next week some of the people involved with the memorial and road signs will be interviewed. This recording will be aired on a radio station before Sunday 24th. Once the interview has taken place I will post further with details.

    I hope this is of interest to members on here.

    Attached Files:

  2. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    There will be a recorded interview we carried out this week at the memorial site on BBC Radio Essex sometime tomorrow on the Peter Holmes programme. This runs from 0600 - 0900.

    In this three of my friends will talk about the memorial and the road signs on the new housing development.

    ... On listening in this morning they've now changed the interview to tomorrow's programme...

    Sunday 24th April @ 07.20 am

    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  3. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    A couple of images from the recording session this week.

    Attached Files:

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  4. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  5. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    I will post some images of Sunday's commemoration and road sign unveiling if anyone is interested.
  6. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    We held another small service for the seven airmen last weekend, and a bit of footage was captured. Link here for anyone interested:

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  7. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    We will be having another small commemoration service at the Colchester airmen's memorial Sunday 22nd April. Should anyone be interested they are welcome to attend. Assemble 10.30 a.m. onwards. service at 11.a.m. Duration 10 - 15 minutes.
    CL1 likes this.
  8. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Today is the anniversary of the crew's loss. 'We will remember them.'

    Last Sunday our little service went well. The weather was like a Summers' day and very similar to the morning when we unveiled the memorial pillar back in 2013.

    A few images here:

    Peter Potter is standing in front of the memorial with M.P. for Colchester Will Quince before the service. He has just presented Will with a copy of his book about his life (Tales of Peter Potter) which was published last year.

    All respect to Peter as he is now 94 years old and still wants to take part. He recently attended the IBCC opening ceremony in Lincoln as well.

    In another image the chap in the dark blazer is Robin Bradley. He is a relative of John Shell the British Air Bomber on the Lancaster.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  9. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    A few more images from our service:

    One picture shows the service and Ipswich Road. The houses to the right are part of the new estate which now bears the seven airmen's names. There are about twelve or so more houses to be completed and that is phase one of the development finished.

    The chap bending down to place a Remembrance Cross at the memorial is M.P.Will Quince who was happy to take part. He later put a couple of pictures on his Face Book page.

    Robin can be seen at the memorial again and the chap with a hat on is Ron, a member of the Boxted Airfield Historical Group.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  10. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    The chap approaching the memorial is Peter, one of our group responsible for establishing the memorial.

    The little group around the memorial pillar is also someof our group of friends.

    Attached Files:

  11. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    We will be holding another short service for the airmen on Sunday 28th April 2019. Starting at 11.a.m.Duration between 15 - 20 minutes. Anyone is welcome to attend.

    Pic: L - R: Lofty, Sean and Paul. Furthest right David Seaborn who saw the Lancaster just before it crashed in 1944.

    (The caravan in the background is where we all meet up each Sunday and 'put the world right.'

    Our little gathering is affectionately called 'Club Sog.' Amongst many interpretations the main one is 'Silly Old Gentlemen').

    (picture taken just before the memorial was completed 2013).

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  12. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Bit of sad news: David Seaborn, the old gentleman who recounted his memories to us of seeing the Lancaster just before it came down and crash all those years ago passed away recently. Just before Christmas last year he ended up in a care home where he remained until his passing.

    He was a very kind and pleasant person to be with and had some interesting stories of what happened in this area during the war.

    There was a great deal of aircraft activity over North Essex in the war years. Just one month later after the Lancaster crash he saw an American Liberator come down. This had been on a training flight. On this occasion the crew baled out. One of them had a wing follow him down to the ground like a sycamore leaf. When David came across the airman he was trying to light a cigarette and shaking uncontrollably.

    I think David was either 89 or 90 years old when he died.

    Because of him telling us his memory of the morning of 25th April 1944 we made the memorial happen.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  13. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    In trying to write a piece of appropriate verse for our service at the end of the month I penned this below. It's 'OK ish' but I'd be interested to hear what others think. Good or bad please post your thoughts and comments, thanks.

    A Final Flight

    It was a different World then
    When tyranny tried its' hand,
    World freedom was at risk
    So we should try to understand

    The need to end a war
    That took so many lives,
    Nation fighting nation
    Industrial in size.

    They came from near and far
    Those young men freely came,
    They trod the path of the unknown
    And went to war in planes.

    They made a choice to volunteer
    Trained becoming friends,
    A crew of seven in the air
    Who'd not return again.

    The German when he fired his guns
    Took them by surprise,
    And here they came and tried to land
    And here they duly died.

    So many years have passed since then
    We stand and say a prayer,
    For young men lost in their prime
    To show we really care.

    For if they'd took a different path
    And had not gone to war
    They may have lived to old age -
    Been safer that's for sure.

    We lost so much in times gone by
    History will not retract
    It's marks and scars it left us with
    There was no final act.

    You were a son, a brother, dad,
    Once a friendly face,
    Here came the end a final flight
    Here there's just a trace.

    So say our names, say them clear
    For us you never knew,
    in thought and deed and honesty
    We gave our lives for you.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    Recce_Mitch and CL1 like this.
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Stan it is great
    They are your thoughts of that time and incident
    after all you hard work on this your thoughts have come through in the poem

    Dont change go with it

  15. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Thanks for that Clive.
  16. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    On Sunday we will be having Janet Shell join us and take part. Janet is related to John Lander Shell the British Air Bomber on the Lancaster. In the 2013 unveiling ceremony she kindly sang 'Remembrance' which is something two of my friends wrote.
    On Sunday she will sing a verse from 'Silver Wings In The Moonlight,' a popular 1940's song.

    Janet is a professional mezzo soprano and also a part time classical radio station presenter at Brooklands Radio in Surrey. She has an amazing voice.

    There will be two pieces of poetry read out, and two letters written by the airmen: British Officer Dennis Randle and Canadian Officer Francis Gunn.

    We are expecting to have Colchester Film Makers Club join us as well and possibly a photographer from the local newspaper.

    We just hope the weather is not against us.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  17. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Well the rain caught up with us this year for the first time but it wasn't too bad.

    Janet Shell and her cousin Robin Bradley attended and took part. Janet sang her one verse from the popular 1940's song 'Silver Wings In The Moonlight.'

    Also, Bill Smith who helps to run a WW2 museum in a Martello Tower in nearby St. Oysth came along wearing his authentic RAF Bomber Command flying kit after I invited him. It gave people an idea of what the crew would have been wearing on the aircraft.

    After the two letters were read out and the verse we observed a minutes silence before wreaths and Remembrance Crosses were placed at the memorial.

    This year we put up the photographic display we used at the unveiling ceremony back in 2013. It was a lot of effort but worth it as the photos certainly were viewed.

    It was a shame more relatives couldn't join us but understandable as they all live considerable distances away. Some have now passed away as well.

    Next year we will probably just revert back to just the group of friends who established the memorial attending, we'll see.

    In the images below, Janet Shell is seen in the red coat. The chap in the wheelchair is Michael Heath, a 12 year old in April 1944. He saw the Lancaster just before it crashed. Standing next to him is a Mr. Blake who is of similar age to Michael, who also visited the crash site apparently but by then the Americans had cordoned off the area.

    The person bowing his head at the memorial is my good friend Lofty (Roy) Tolhurst who was the other main person behind establishing the memorial.

    The main thing is that we remember and continue to remember the seven men who lost their lives near this area. Hopefully we have started something that will continue in the years ahead.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  18. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    I've uploaded the 28th April service images onto YouTube. Also a short piece of footage of Janet singing near the end (go to 3 mins 49 secs)

    Link here:

    Or just search for: Lancaster Crew Memorial Service Colchester 28.4.2019
  19. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

  20. STAN50

    STAN50 Senior Member

    Some sad news:

    Peter Potter, our local 626 Squadron veteran passed away this week. Peter was a lovely person who could get on with anyone.

    He survived over 30 operations during the war flying in Halifax and Lancaster bombers as a Tail Gunner. On one occasion when they were sent on a mine laying operation to the Kiel canal the aircraft returned to base with about 154 flack holes in the fuselage. They were flying so low that anti aircraft guns were hitting them from both side of the canal.

    He was posted to RAF Wickenby after the UM-K2 crew were killed and saw himself as a replacement for them.

    As the war ended he was posted to Boxted airfield which is where the UM-K2 DV177 Lancaster crew were trying to land at in April 1944.

    He always carried a guilt of bombing civilians but he knew that was a possibility and they had to take the fight to the enemy. In later life he became a fireman and also a mental health nurse.

    In 2017 he was awarded The Legion d' Honneur by the French government, which is their highest award. He said that this went some way for him to come to terms with what he did during the war.

    The campaign medal the British government awarded Bomber Command members a couple of years back he never wore however.

    I first met him around about 2002 when the Boxted Airfield Historical Group was formed.

    When we planned the memorial for the Lancaster crew Peter was pleased to be part of this. From 2013 up until this year he had an active part in these annual commemorations, as well as the memorial unveiling ceremony.

    He always had a 'can do' attitude to life and even when he was feeling unwell would push himself. He would always attend the annual commemoration service at the former RAF Wickenby in Lincolnshire as he wanted to remember those who died from his Squadron. He sometimes commented that he could so easily have been one of the 55,000+ who lost their lives young. I'm told that during the war Wickenby lost 150 aircraft.

    In more recent years volunteer light aircraft pilots would ferry Peter to Wickenby, so even at a great age he wasn't phased at climbing aboard an aircraft. Another local businessman from a local flying club also ferried him to Wickenby. And I think on at least two occasions he also gave him helicopter flights locally.

    I think he was typical of a lot of men of his generation who served in the war years. And if it hadn't been for him and many others like him stepping forward and putting their necks on the line we wouldn't have the freedoms we have today.

    He was well liked and many will miss him, me included.:poppy:

    Here's a couple of minutes footage of him talking in 2017

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019

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