RAF memorial finally unveiled as Chatteris remembers on Armistice Day

Chatteris remembers on Armistice Day 2021

Chatteris remembered on Armistice Day as they unveiled a new RAF memorial to remember airmen who lost their lives in and around the town during the Second World War. - Credit: Terry Harris/Daniel Mason

A memorial to remember multiple airmen killed in and around Chatteris during the Second World War has been unveiled. 

The memorial was unveiled at a ceremony at the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul today (Thursday) after the town paused to remember those who lost their lives in conflict on Armistice Day. 

Tina Prior, member of the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) Chatteris branch, said: “It’s nice that it’s all finished and fitting we could unveil it on Armistice Day.” 

A campaign led by the Chatteris branch of the Royal British Legion to set up a memorial, delayed due to Covid-19, came in 2018 during the centenary year of the Royal Air Force. 

Around £5,000 has since been raised to install a large boulder which shows a commemorative plaque created by apprentices at Stainless Metalcraft. 

Wing Commander Farley West and Colonel Roger Herriot OBE in Chatteris

Wing Commander Kate Farley-West of RAF Wyton and Colonel Roger Herriot OBE DL unveil the RAF memorial in Chatteris. - Credit: Terry Harris

An information board has also been uncovered about the seven aircraft that crashed in or near Chatteris between February 1939 to February 1945. 

Tina said: “I think it’s important to help highlight the fact that remembrance is not just about things that have happened far away, but right on our doorstep.” 

Wing Commander Kate Farley-West and Col Roger Herriot OBE DL in Chatteris

Wing Commander Kate Farley-West of RAF Wyton and Colonel Roger Herriot OBE DL unveil the RAF memorial in Chatteris. - Credit: Terry Harris

RAF memorial unveiled in Chatteris on Armistice Day 2021

Apprentices from Stainless Metalcraft at the new RAF memorial in Chatteris. - Credit: Terry Harris

A Hawker Hind K6752 was seen from Chatteris doing what eyewitness Thomas Skeels described as “daredevil stunts” over Ely before it hit the ground on February 5, 1939. 

Pilot, Sergeant Ralph Herbert Wright, died but it is unclear exactly where the crash happened. 

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On July 12, 1941, a Blenheim Bomber MK IV lost control and crashed at Old Harves near Chatteris. 

Blenheim Bomber crew before Chatteris crash WW2

Pictured is Sgt James Tinker, 21, with his crew, who died when the Blenheim Bomber crashed. - Credit: Ray Francis

Wreath laid at RAF memorial in Chatteris

A wreath is laid at the RAF memorial in Chatteris, which was unveiled on Armistice Day 2021. - Credit: Terry Harris

Tina Prior with Chatteris RAF memorial

Tina Prior, member of the Royal British Legion's Chatteris branch, next to the RAF memorial unveiled in the town. - Credit: Daniel Mason

A Wellington MK 1C then crashed while on a night navigation exercise on September 10, 1941 where pilot, flying officer Joshua Stephen Willis, died. 

On February 2, 1943, a Miles Master Mk killed two men after it hit ground near Bensons Farm.  

Sgt James Tinker of Blenheim Bomber crew that crashed in Chatteris

Sgt James Tinker, 21, died when the Blenheim Bomber crashed. - Credit: Ray Francis

Lancaster Bomber crash near Chatteris gasworks in 1945

The Lancaster Bomber crash close to Chatteris gasworks in February 1945. Picture: RAY FRANCIS. - Credit: Ray Francis

In May that year, a Lancaster GT-J landed between Chatteris and Warboys after pilot, squadron leader Brian Lawless Duigan, ordered the crew to bail out after running low on fuel on its way to Dortmund. 

All crew members survived. 

Norman Larke of Chatteris Royal British Legion branch

Norman Larke, chairman of the Royal British Legion's Chatteris branch who is leaving his post, was project manager of the committee that led a campaign to install a RAF memorial. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Armistice Day commemorations held in Chatteris 2021

Chatteris paused to remember those who lost their lives on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of the town's RAF memorial. - Credit: Terry Harris

A Mosquito XV1 crashed on January 15, 1945 but only two out of seven crew members survived when a Lancaster Bomber ME450 hit the ground close to Chatteris gasworks on the site of what is now Jack’s supermarket. 

The memorial was also to be a fitting send-off for Norman Larke, who leaves his post as chairman of the Chatteris RBL branch after 20 years. 

Lancaster Bomber crew who died in Chatteris

Pictured are some of the Lancaster Bomber crew who lost their lives. - Credit: Ray Francis

Armistice Day commemorations in Chatteris 2021

Chatteris paused to remember those who lost their lives on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of the town's RAF memorial. - Credit: Daniel Mason

“My time here has been very good,” Norman said. 

“I’m over the moon the memorial is here - it reflects the work that the committee and the Chatteris community have put in.” 

Armistice Day Chatteris Rev Canon Wendy Thomson 2021

Chatteris paused to remember those who lost their lives on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of the town's RAF memorial. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Armistice Day commemorations Chatteris 2021

Chatteris paused to remember those who lost their lives on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of the town's RAF memorial. - Credit: Terry Harris

Plaques on Chatteris RAF memorial

Commemorative plaques were designed for the RAF memorial in Chatteris. - Credit: Terry Harris

Armistice Day commemorations Chatteris 2021

Crowds gathered at the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul to pay their respects on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of a RAF memorial in Chatteris. - Credit: Terry Harris

Poppy tree in Chatteris on Armistice Day 2021

Chatteris paused to remember those who lost their lives on Armistice Day ahead of the unveiling of the town's RAF memorial. - Credit: Terry Harris

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