VILLAGERS in Langtree are laying plans to remember those who died in a wartime tragedy 66 years ago. On August 27, 1943, a Halifax bomber crashed near Buda Farm at Langtree, killing all seven of its young crew, aged from 19 to 29. A village committee is n
VILLAGERS in Langtree are laying plans to remember those who died in a wartime tragedy 66 years ago.On August 27, 1943, a Halifax bomber crashed near Buda Farm at Langtree, killing all seven of its young crew, aged from 19 to 29.A village committee is now working towards the erection of a granite memorial to remember the men - four from England, one from Scotland and two Australians.Relatives have been contacted and around 20 are expected to attend a dedication ceremony on the anniversary of the event.It is hoped to also have representatives of the RAF and Royal Australian Air Force present for the ceremony, to be conducted by the two local church ministers, and to have an Air Cadets' honour guard and a fly-past by an RAF Hercules.Local fund-raising and donations have put the village committee close to its £1,000 target for the memorial and the parish council is being approached for grant aid.Parish clerk Mike Evans said there were two versions of why the Halifax, from the 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit, based at Rufforth in Yorkshire, had crashed.One was that it was taking part in a "bullseye" training operation. This involved choosing a "soft" target over enemy territory in France for the trainees to test out their skills. But the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and broke up as it struggled home.The other was that something had gone wrong during low altitude training manoeuvres, causing the Halifax to crash.Mary Branson, 81, from Roehampton, is the sister of the pilot John Peter Williams, just 20. He and the two Australian flyers are buried in the churchyard at Heanton Punchardon near Braunton.Mrs Branson is keen to find out the answers. Her brother had been in the final stages of training before joining the Pathfinders force, she said.She intends to attend the Langtree ceremony with other members of the family and said she was "thrilled to pieces" that the men were to be remembered after all this time.