Lancaster bomber helps Langtree remember wartime airmen

THE only Lancaster bomber still flying in Britain dipped low over Langtree today (Thursday) as part of the village s tribute to seven wartime airmen who died there. Hundreds attended the dedication of a granite memorial to the young men from Britain and A

THE only Lancaster bomber still flying in Britain dipped low over Langtree today (Thursday) as part of the village's tribute to seven wartime airmen who died there.

Hundreds attended the dedication of a granite memorial to the young men from Britain and Australia who lost their lives when their Halifax bomber crashed near Buda Farm, Langtree, 66 years ago to the day.

Those attending included members of the airmen's families, senior representatives of the RAF and the Australian High Commission, plus members and standard bearers of Royal British Legion branches from across the region, members of the Aircrew Association, Royal Air Forces Association, Royal Air Force, Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the Search and Rescue Squadron from Chivenor.

Hartland 326 Air Training Corps members provided a guard of honour at the memorial, which was unveiled jointly by Wing Commander John Ibbotson, Royal Australian Air Force advisor, Australian High Commission, London, and Air Marshal Peter Walker, National President of the Aircrew Association.


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Members of the airmen's families, Service and civic representatives laid poppy wreaths.

A commemorative tree was planted at the site of the crash at Buda Farm and then followed a visit to the churchyard at Heanton Punchardon near Barnstaple, where the pilot John Peter Williams of the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve and Australian RAF gunners Peter Chadwick Bartle and Hugh Patrick Henry are buried.

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Other crew members were navigator Raymond Frederick Stainsby, flight engineer George Rogerson Wheatley, air bomber William Henry Graham and wireless operator/air gunner James Taylor of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

The memorial and ceremony was the result of longstanding work by a Langtree village committee following the initial vision of local man David Hill.

(Full story in next week's Gazette)

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