Tree planting ceremony in memory of 
fallen airmen

Yelvertoft commemorate the 70th anniversary of the loss of 14 bomber crew in an aircrash over the village. Pictured, Cpl Mark Windsor plays the Last Post next to part of the tail fin from Lancaster KB768 from 428 Squadron.
Yelvertoft commemorate the 70th anniversary of the loss of 14 bomber crew in an aircrash over the village. Pictured, Cpl Mark Windsor plays the Last Post next to part of the tail fin from Lancaster KB768 from 428 Squadron.
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A tree planting ceremony and remembrance service has been held in Yelvertoft to mark the 70th anniversary of a tragic plane crash.

It was on the night of December 5, 1944 that the number six group RAF Bomber Command operation was sent out to bomb the town of Soest in the north west of Germany.

There were more than 450 aircraft involved in the night and two aircraft, a Halifax and a Lancaster, collided in airspace over the village resulting in the loss of all 14 crew members.

On Saturday, members of Yelvertoft History Group commemorated the event.

One of the members of the history group, Julie Webster, said: “There were two Canadian bombers going to the German town and they were accompanied by engineers from the Royal Air Force. They collided for some reason, no one knows the exact reason why, resulting in the loss of the airmen.”

Saturday’s event comprised an act of remembrance at the war memorial in the village and was followed by a tree planting ceremony at the King George V Field.

Mrs Webster said: “There were around 100 people who attended the service and the names of the Canadian air force personnel were read out by Colonel Marc Bigaouette, an air attache of the Canadian High Commission.

“After the service, a wreath to remember the airmen was placed.”

The tree planting ceremony was a significant one as well.

Mrs Webster added: “We planted a Canadian maple tree and an English Oak at the playing field.

“The reason for choosing the playing field is that it was the nearest public space to where the crash happened that we could place the trees.

“They were planted by Stan Instone, 80, who was in the original raid, and Lynne 
Farquharson, who was a friend of a sister of one of the airmen.

After the event, refreshments were served at the Congregational Church and gave people an opportunity to view displayed information on the air collision and the crew members as well to chat to the people from Canada.

Mrs Webster said: “It was a really bright day and the event went really well.

“It was a very significant event for the people in Yelvertoft and the people in Richmond, Canada where all of the airmen came from.

“It was a very moving day as there were a lot of memories shared about everyone’s experiences.

“The Canadian guests that we had visiting were incredibly grateful for all of the effort that people in Yelvertoft had gone to. The chairman of the parish council even received a letter from the Mayor of Richmond thanking everyone for putting on the event.”