Memorial unveiled at Holy Trinity Church in Coates to honour 14 US servicemen who died during World War II

PUBLISHED: 15:48 15 May 2017

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

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A memorial was unveiled at Holy Trinity Church in Coates at the weekend in honour of 14 US servicemen who were killed during the Second World War.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

The unveiling was the conclusion of three years’ research by Darren Bond, whose interest in World War II history led him to launch a fundraising page to start his memorial project.

He said: “I was told the story of what happened and from there it just snowballed.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

“On May 12 1944, on the return flight after Exercise Eagle, two C47 aircrafts collided mid-air over Turves and Benwick whilst they were on the way back to the base in Cottesmore, Rutland.”

Thanks to donations from family members and friends of the pilots who died, £2,500 was raised.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

“It’s been a long distance project to try and arrange it all,” added Darren, of Nottingham, “but I felt compelled to make sure these guys get the recognition they deserve.”

Whilst the donations were coming in, he contacted eight of the pilots’ families in the US.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

“They were really excited to make sure their family members get remembered properly,” he said.

To put his project into action, Darren started working with Revd Nigel Whitehouse and former mayor of Whittlesey, Councillor Alex Miscandlon, to find a suitable placement for the memorial.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Among those at this weekend’s unveiling were the current US homeguard from RAF Alconbury, a flight base commander, numerous dignitaries as well as local councillors, mayors and residents.

Two nieces of one of the pilots who died in the crash, Joseph Sharber Jnr, flew across from the US especially for the event. After the memorial unveiling, military honours were awarded.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Darren said: “Everyone was very humbled, pleased and excited – it had quite a lot of local interest, too.

“Some people gave their own personal reflections and shared stories of what happened on the day.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

“Many of the relatives also said they felt the memorial was fitting and a great way to honour those who died. It’s at the heart of the community and people will by pass it by everyday, too.”

Darren plans to use the rest of the money raised to plant trees near to the crash site.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.Unveiling of new World War II memorial at Coates Church. PHOTO: Ian Carter.

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