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Saturday November 16 2019

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In Full . . .

Always remembered

Posted on October 29 2019 at 11:05:58

memorial

Fitting tributes to the airmen who lost their lives in a bomber crash in Wythall.

After almost 78 years, the crew of a wartime Wellington bomber that crashed in Wythall finally have a permanent memorial at the site.

Sgt Douglas Butterworth (aged 20, from Rochdale), Sgt Charles Edward Morrey (20, from Barnsley), Sgt Brian Franklin (21, from Gloucester) and P/O Wilfred “Bunny” Burnham (21, from New Zealand) were killed when their damaged aircraft, returning from a sortie to Cherbourg, hit an oak tree and burst into flames while attempting an emergency landing in a field next to Highfield Farm.

Two other crew members survived and are commemorated alongside their lost comrades on a new plaque, which was officially unveiled in a ceremony attended by some of the airmen’s relatives as well as RAF and Royal British Legion representatives.

Also present was John Nash, who witnessed the crash as a 10-year-old boy living at the farm.

John’s son Dave and his business partner Darren Brough, who operate from the farm, decided to create a memorial after reading archive articles about the crash on The Village website and hearing about a similar project in Sheffield.

Stephen Peters and Frank Smart, who had researched Bunny Burnham’s story and written another Village article, helped to trace and contact the airmen’s families, who travelled from far and wide to attend – including Bunny’s relatives from New Zealand, who told The Village they have a copy of our article about Bunny on display at home.

After the ceremony, some of the group took the opportunity to visit the four nearby roads recently named after Bunny, thanks to Stephen and Peter’s campaign (the British men who died had already been honoured in street names in South Wythall).

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