Mr. Ivan Sneezum lead the plaque dedication ceremony in remembrance of the men of the Royal Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Regiments, and other service men and women who suffered greatly in the Far East during and after the 1939-45 war The plaque wording
In a ceremony held at St. Mark's Church Ten Mile Bank two local men who died in active service for the British Army were remembered and their names added to the parish war memorial. The plaque commemorates the memories of Mr. Maurice Bell, who was killed 1952 on service during the Korean War and Mr. Kenneth Rose who was killed in Malaysia in 1949 where British Troops were fighting Communist guerillas.
A MEMORIAL TO THE AIRCREW WHO DIED WHEN THEIR AIRCRAFT CRASHED IN THE PARISH OF HILGAY Seven aircraft crashed in Hilgay during the 2nd WW. The crews of 3 survived, the names of the crews of the other 4 are to be inscribed on a memorial adjacent to the Village War Memorial. Both RAF Marham and the USAF from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall will be supporting the ceremony Research by M. H. Forster, Honorary Secretary (Kings Lynn Branch) The Royal Air Forces Association HURRICANE L1741 56 OTU RAF SUTTON BRIDGE Crashed at HILGAY FEN 4th January 1941 Sgt K A WORTHINGTON map of crash site MASTER N 8043 56 OTU RAF SUTTON BRIDGE Crashed at HILGAY STATION 16th February 1941 Sgt A J BURLEY map of crash site WELLINGTON II W 5448 HA-Z 218 Sqdn RAF MARHAM Crashed at WOODHALL FARM 18th May 1941 Plt. Off. B E LYMBERY Sgt K W COATES Sgt W F WEBBER RCAF Sgt L CRAWSHAW Sgt G M BAYLY Sgt R G MEW map of crash site B 17 G 44-6818 728 Sqdn 452 BG RAF DEOPHAM GREEN Crashed at POPLAR FARM 30th March 1944 2 Lt. W C Du MOND Flt Off. C C JONES 2 Lt. E A MATTHEWS Sgt C N HARTMANN Sgt R FROST Sgt D CURSONS map of crash site
The service was held to Unveil and Dedicate a Memorial to Those Who Served and Died when their Aircraft crashed in the Parish of Hilgay 1939-1945 Officiating Clergy The Rev'd David Evans Rector of the Parish of Hilgay The Rev'd (Wg Cdr) Lance Clark Church of England Chaplain, RAF MARHAM The Welcome Mr. Ray Houghton Chairman, Hilgay Parish Council Introduction Mr. Paul King OBE. DL Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Hymns and Prayers The Unveiling, Dedication and Blessing of the Hilgay Aircrew Memorial The Chairman of the Downham Market Branch of the Royal British Legion Mr. Horace Cross invited Mr. Bert Webb (a former Wellington Pilot) and S. M. Sgt Mark Brotherton USAF of 48FW RAF Lakenheath to unveil the Memorial. The Rev'd (Wg Cdr) Lance Clark dedicated the plaque Then the names of those who are commemorated on the Memorial were read by: Wg Cdr Michael Oldham MA. BSc. RAF Sgt K A Worthington Plt Off. B E Lymbery Sgt K W Coates Sgt W F Webber RCAF Sgt L Crawshaw Sgt G M Bayly Sgt R G Mew S. M. Sgt Mark Brotherton USAF Sgt A J Burley 2 Lt W C Du Mond Flt Off. C C Jones 2 Lt E A Matthews Sgt C N Hartmann Sgt R Frost Sgt D Cursons Wreaths were laid by: Mr. Paul King OBE DL representing the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, the Mayor of the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillor John Legg, the Lymbery Family, the Coates Family, the Mew Family, The Rt. Hon. Mrs. Gillian Shephard. MP., Mrs. Colleen Walker, Chairman, Norfolk County Council, Mr. Ray Houghton, Chairman, Hilgay Parish Council, Wg Cdr. Michael Oldham. OC RAF MARHAM, SM Sgt Mark Brotherton USAF, Major Willis Jacobs. RCAF, Mr. Michael English, County Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Mr. Horace Cross, Chairman, Downham Market Royal British Legion, Mr. Peter Kingston of the Downham Market Branch of the Royal Airforces Association, Mrs. Margery Griffiths, 218 Sqdn Association. The Dedication of the Royal Airforces Association Recited by Mr. Peter Kingston In friendship and service one to another, we are pledged to keep alive the memory of those of all Nations who died in the Royal Air Force and in the Air Forces of the Commonwealth In their name we give ourselves to this noble cause, Proudly and thankfully we will remember them The Last Post The Kohima Epitaph Recited by Mr. Horace Cross, Chairman of the Downham Branch of the Royal British Legion When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow we gave our today Reveille Mr. Brian Charlesworth recited a poem which was written by Mr. Charles O'Reilly, the only living survivor of the B17 who unfortunately was not fit enough to travel from the United States
This poem was written by Charles O’ Reilly, one of three, who escaped by parachute from the Flying Fortress (B17) and the only one still alive today. In Memoriam For my crew - England 1945 Drawn from desperate sleeps our crews awoke. Shivery - fingered, we lit cold cigarettes, Which glowed bright points to reassure Of others’ presence, near, though phantoms seemed. Talk was low in whispered nothings, not wanting To remember yesterday, and the day before, And the days before - Of the once - live flesh that fell In streaming lines of iridescent light. Each day we lifted into the black - Into that English blackness deeply cold, Into those pre - dawn skies, Where soon, miles high in opening light, Long vapour trails pointed those skies And where we were. And then a shattering of steel Sent points of light Through the darkened bombers’ spaces, And flak rang our ears with pain. Down on blood - wet spent - shells The gunners sprawled. Fingers tore at useless masks, Which etched deep lines, and they Gasped for oxygen’s life - giving breath, Denied, by several lines left dangling. With shrill staccato beats The flak formed in ugly puffs of smoke; And tiny planes bit deep like wasps. They made the skies appear like that when once in rage Fell streams of angels through the days and nights, Engulfed in fire until the air was clean again. God seemed far from skies as those When shattered parts and planes and crews Enclosed by fire and soaked in burning oil, Fell, until the earth reached up in mercy To claim those of us who dared Trespass those sacred realms of sky. © Downham Branch Royal British Legion Charles writes: I wish to thank you for the information and invitation for me to come to the memorial for the Aircrews who died in the Parish of Hilgay. Illness will keep me from making the trip, I send a memorial poem which I wrote many years ago, you may do with it what you wish. Best of Luck I wish I could be with you on 18th May
During the 2nd World War there were 37 Airfields in Norfolk and over 50 in Lincolnshire. Throughout these six years, over flying of this area was part of daily life. Unfortunately, accidents occurred and many brave airmen lost their lives. Here in Hilgay 7 aircraft crashed resulting in the loss of, (to the best of our knowledge some 57 years later) 14 lives. Some 18 months ago it was suggested that a memorial plaque was made, listing the names of those who lost their lives. At the time it was known that one aircraft had crashed with the loss of all the crew. On further investigation it transpired that 7 aircraft had crashed in the Parish, the crews of 3 aircraft survived as did 3 members of the crew of the B17. The 4 other crashes resulted in the death of 14 airmen. Plans were then made to unveil a memorial plaque on 18th May 2002 being the 61st anniversary of the crash of the Wellington. All these men answered the call, coming from different lands, America, Canada and England. One is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves plot in the Churchyard of St Matthew's Sutton Bridge, Two in the Commonwealth War Graves plot in the Marham Churchyard and the 6 crew from the B17 were buried at the Cambridge American Military Cemetery. All the others were buried in their home Towns / Villages. The memorial was unveiled in Honour and Gratitude to remind us and future generations of the sacrifice made by these men attempting with thousands of others to preserve/regain the Freedom and Peace we in this Country enjoy today. It is also an important Chapter in Hilgay Village History Map of Crash Sites