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Langham   Lancaster Memorial 25 April 2013

 

A plinth has been erected in the grounds of Space Savers in Ipswich Road, marking the crash of RAF Lancaster UM-K2 of 626 Squadron on 25 April 1944 at 04.10 hours. The aircraft had been attacked by a lone nighfighter and was burning .. and trying to make a landing at RAF Boxted, a mile away. The base lit the flare path, but to no avail, the Lancaster came down with its seven crew-members, three Canadian and four British, short of the runway, and all were killed.

25 April 2013 

 

   

 

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Sir Bob Russell M.P. opened the proceedings in front of quite a media presence, left, and an audience consisting of veterans and relatives of the downed Lancaster's crew, and local representatives. In the centre is one such veteran, Sgt. Len Manning, shot down in a Lancaster on his third mission, with his parachute burning .. and suffering from burns himself. He was sheltered in a French village for three months before being liberated by advancing Americans.

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During the service there were speeches from Colonel Paul Keddy, Air Attache, Canadian High Commission, left and David Mackie Smith of the Canadian Air Force Association, right.

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Peter Potter, a veteran himself of 626 Squadron, reads the "Ode of Remem-brance".

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The Revd Michael Hall of RAF Marham conducts the service, left, whilst relatives of the fallen aircrew and other veterans, right, look on. In the centre are Elizabeth Schofield MBE., Chairman of Langham Parish Council and and Simon Gallup, who read the poem 'High Flight'.

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Roy Tolhurst, other veterans and David Mackie, unveil the plinth and its inscriptions.

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Colonel Paul Keddy, Air Attache, Canadian High Commission lays a wreath at the memorial, left, to be followed by  W.O. Carruthers from RAF Marham, centre and by a number of veterans, right.

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At one stage a UAV overflew the service, across Ipswich Road in a high and blustery wind! Should have got some good shots!

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The service included a solo, 'Remembrance', sung by Janet Shell, a relative of one of the crew, Ft/Sgt John Shell, and a professional opera singer. She is shown below, on the right-hand photo in a black dress with white spots. When two police cars and an ambulance sounding its siren raced up the Ipswich Road she stopped in mid song, then started again as the noise receded!

 

Notable also was a volley of rifle fire by the USAF Honor Guard from RAF Mildenhall and the sounding of the last post by Simon Sinclair.

 

 

 

At the end of the service it was announced that the Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight would fly over, but there was a delay of some forty minutes. This gave ample opportunity for all concerned, especially relatives of the aircrew to mingle, inspect the plinth and have their photographs taken. It was also time for the Harwich Royal British Legion Band to play!

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The Lancaster from Coningsby made three passes over the site .. to cheers and waves!

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Time to go home for some ... and time to linger for others.

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The Lancaster departs.

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To complete the day for a good number of those invited to the ceremony, a Robinson helicopter gave rides from the Museum site.

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Inconspicuous throughout was the instigator and driving force behind what became a formidable team ... Chris Stanfield.

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