Family members of the US airmen whose B-17 Flying Fortress crashed in Suffolk during the height of WWII paid homage at the crash site. It can be remembered that on November 19, 1943 a B-17 Flying Fortress fell from the skies above Redlingfield resulting in the death of the ten men boarding it.
In 2010, a memorial was built on the said site but this year’s service is the first time for US relatives of the fallen men to be present.
The said war craft carried the 95th Bomb Group heading for Germany and had taken off from a Horham base which was just nearby the crashing site when it fell. The cause of the accident has never been discovered until now.
It had been carrying bombs and other explosives and its crash resulted in an explosion that destroyed Green Farm though no civilians were harmed.
“This year is a bit special as not only is it the 70th anniversary, it’s the first time relatives have joined us,” said Mike Ager who is from the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association and is the Redlingfield Parish Meeting chairman.
Along with the WWII US airmen relatives who traveled from America just to attend the memorial, a number of serving personnel from the US Air Force based at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, the Royal British Legion, Suffolk villagers and the people involved in the 5th Bomb Group museum at Horham were also present.
“I’m emotional and overwhelmed at what this community has done to remember my uncle and the rest of the boys.
“No-one should be forgotten who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.
“Even though I didn’t know my uncle, as I was born after the war, I’m very proud of what he did and he paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Marcia Moyer, niece of one of the co-pilots 2nd Lt Warren Franklin Mansfield Strawn, tearfully said.
Enid Wheeler, a resident of Suffolk had witnessed the actual crash; she had been 13 years old at that time.
“We usually cycled across the airfield to Eye Grammar School every morning, but we were told not to because about 30 planes were taking off.
“We just knew this plane wasn’t going to get up with the others and we watched it crash about two fields away and the bombs kept going off and we didn’t make it to school, we just went home,” she recalled.