Memorial unveiled at Holy Trinity Church in Coates to honour 14 US servicemen who died during World War II
- Credit: Archant
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.
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.
“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.
You may also want to watch:
“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.
- 1 Lucky Cambridgeshire neighbours win People's Postcode Lottery
- 2 Drug dealer racially abused police officer
- 3 Person cut out of car after two-vehicle crash
- 4 Woman has heart attack and dies in ambulance waiting for a hospital bed
- 5 Crews tackle huge Fens blaze
- 6 Piled wall will resolve major King's Dyke crossing obstacle
- 7 Photographer, Eleanor, wins highly regarded award
- 8 'I think I hurt him bad mum' says Murder on the Doorstep killer
- 9 Three charged after £2m Hotpoint arson attack
- 10 Have your say on new political map for Fenland council
“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.
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.
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.
“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.