Halifax Pilot Memorial. Hampshire.

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Little Friend, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

  2. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Further details from Googling..
    A memorial to the heroism of the pilot was erected in 1992 on the 50th anniversary of the crash of a Halifax bomber as it returned from a bombing attack on Dortmund. With the plane on fire, Pilot Officer Richard Pryce-Hughes kept the stricken plane circling the area, allowing the rest of his crew to bale out to safety before it finally crashed on the moorland near to the greatham road. Rochard's two surviving sisters and nephew attended the unveiling ceremony. The Memorial issoon to be refurbished, in tribute to the man who sacrificed his own life for the lives of his men.

    Petersfield Post: Published on 30/03/2011 15:00
    Shortly after dawn on an April morning 69 years ago, an RAF Halifax bomber returning to its base in Yorkshire from a raid on the Ruhr crashed into heathland on the edge of Liss Forest, killing the pilot. He was a 33-year-old father of two young children called Pilot Officer Richard Pryce Hughes who had spent the last few moments of his life desperately trying to find somewhere to crash land his stricken aircraft well away from houses. And his courage will be honoured at a ceremony next month which will see the rededication of a memorial which marks the spot.

    It will take place at 10.30am on April 15, the anniversary of the final flight of Halifax 9492 , call sign Zulu Alpha Golf, of 10 Squadron, RAF. The event will be attended by local residents, descendants of Pilot Officer Hughes and representatives of the RAF. There will be a fly past by a Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham. The memorial has been in place since 1992, but Tony Grant, chairman of Liss Forest Residents’ Association, said the rededication ceremony would be an opportunity for local people to know the full story behind it. And David Spear, the great nephew of Pilot Officer Hughes, said he was delighted that his bravery was being honoured. “There were something like 52,000 bomber crew members who were killed during the war, none of whom were given campaign medals. “It is very touching that Uncle Dickie, as he was known to the family, will be remembered again.”

    Pilot Officer Hughes was actually a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, not the RAF. In the years before the second world war, he had worked on his family’s cattle ranching business in Argentina and had learned to fly light aircraft as a way of covering long distances over the South American pampas. When war broke out, he went to the British embassy in Buenos Aires, offering his services to the RAF – but was told he was too old to join up as a pilot. Undaunted, he and some other British expatriates made their way to Canada to join the RCAF to train as bomber pilots. He eventually joined 10 Squadron of Bomber Command at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire. “He had a family and two young children back in Argentina, but like so many young men, he was determined to do his bit,” said Mr Spear. “At that time, the average survival rate for bomber crews was nine missions – and Uncle Dick was killed on his ninth mission.” He added: “On the night of April 14, 1942, they had been on a bombing raid above Dortmund. But because of bad weather they were running low on fuel by the time they got home. “He ordered his crew to bail out, then looked for somewhere safe to put the plane down.” The crash happened just before 5am, and one of the first people on the scene was a member of the local Home Guard, Ernest Berriman.

    Mr Spear said: “In 1992 I was driving near Liss, and, realising that the 50th anniversary of the crash was coming up, I decided to go into the village and see if anyone remembered anything about it. “I went into the Post Office, and they told me to try the house opposite. When I asked the man who opened the door, he said ‘I know the right place – I found the pilot.’ It was an extraordinary moment.” Mr Berriman’s son, Tony, who was a young boy at the time, remembers seeing the Halifax flying low over Liss Forest and his father rushing out to the scene. “It’s something I will never forget,” he said. Richard Pryce Hughes’s body was returned to his native village of Wybunbury in Cheshire, and he was buried on April 19, 1942 in the churchyard of St Chad’s Church, next to his parents.
     
  3. David Spear

    David Spear New Member

     

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