News>Local community, RAF Welford, 101st Squadron remember loss of Lancaster bomber
RAF WELFORD, United Kingdom - Alan Bovingdon-Cox (far right), Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group president, begins the memorial service for eight Airmen attached to the Royal Air Force's 101st Squadron March 31 here, 67 years after their Lancaster Bomber crashed here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Barton)
RAF WELFORD, United Kingdom - Capt. Kurt Umlauf, 420th Munitions Squadron commander, presents a wreath at the memorial service for eight Airmen attached to the Royal Air Force's 101st Squadron March 31 here, 67 years after their Lancaster Bomber crashed here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Barton)
by Senior Airman Joel Mease
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
4/1/2011 - RAF WELFORD, United Kingdom -- A memorial service for eight Airmen attached to the Royal Air Force's 101st Squadron was held March 31 at RAF Welford, 67 years after their Lancaster bomber crashed at Welford.
The annual service is led by the Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group to remember those eight Commonwealth Airmen and to strengthen the bond held between the community, the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Air Force.
"From the very first service of remembrance, this has been a civilian event with a military presence," said Alan Bovingdon-Cox, Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group president. "The format preserves the peace of the Memorial Grove while demonstrating our international military alliance."
According to the research group, those eight aircrew were part of a brave and deadly raid at Nuremburg in which more than a quarter of the Airmen participating would be killed. What the Airmen participating in the raid did not know is the German Luftwaffe's nightfighters were equipped with a new weapon that allowed the fighter to position below the bombers out of sight from the gunners and fire at close range. In the first 60 minutes since crossing the German border, 59 Lancaster and Halifax bombers were shot down.
What makes those eight Airmen, a crew composed of Australian, Canadian and British forces, unique is they were the last to perish in the raid, Mr. Bovingdon-Cox said. As the bomber, serial number DV290, approached RAF Welford, the plane crashed.
"Precisely what caused the crash will never be known - was it attempting to land, had it succumbed to battle damage," Mr. Bovingdon-Cox questioned. "She was to become the one hundred and first, the final casualty of the fateful raid."
Of the losses suffered in the raid, the 101st Squadron bore the brunt of the casualties, the deadliest raid for the squadron throughout the war.
Whatever the reasons for DV290's crash at RAF Welford, Mr. Bovingdon-Cox said their courage in their acts of protecting freedom on that fateful raid are important for us all to remember.
A member of the Parachute Regimental Association summed up their bravery defending freedom by reciting the Kohima Epitaph, "When you go home tell them of us and say: For your tomorrow we gave our today."