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Can you help?
Have you ever witnessed any aircraft crashes during World War Two? We are looking to hear from anyone with ANY information regarding aircraft crashes in the UK and Europe. Have you ever wanted to know more about why it crashed or perhaps you have often wondered about the pilots name, age etc. If so we can often help.
 
WANTED
WW2 Casualty Groups - RAF, Army, Navy. We will ensure their names are not forgotten.
 
WANTED
Volunteers wanted to attend museum during open weekends - would suit retired person within the Surrey/Sussex area.
 
BAPC Member

Member of the British Aviation Preservation Council

WINGS MUSEUM
REGISTERED CHARITY
NO. 1117879
 
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Short Stirling BF479 149 Squadron

 
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A first in Belgium, two Belgium Air Force F-16 Falcons perform a flypast over the crash site on Friday 24th May 2013.
 
Memorial dedication to the crew of a 149 Squadron Stirling 25th May 2013
 
On Saturday 25th May 2013 a memorial was unveiled near the town of Kasterlee in Belgium to the crew of a 149 Squadron Stirling bomber which crashed in the early hours of 14th May 1943. The memorial was a joint venture between the Wings Museum, the Heemkundige Kring a local history group in Kasterlee and the community of Kasterlee. Four relatives of the crew attended the memorial service.
 
Short Stirling III BF479 of 149 Squadron was briefed to attack the industrial town of Bochum in Germany as part of the ‘battle of the Ruhr’. At about 0305 the bomber was attacked by an Me110 night fighter flown by Obfw Fritz Schellwat of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 which resulted in the destruction of the Stirling bomber. The aircraft crashed in flames in the Vorsell near Kasterlee where the German Luftwaffe were quickly on the scene. None of the crew survived the crash and all are now buried in Schoonselhof Cemetery, Commonwealth War Graves section. The crew consisted of the pilot Flying Officer L C Martin, second pilot Sgt R C Ferguson RCAF, flight engineer Sgt J E Butt, navigator Sgt N H Frank, bomb aimer Flying Officer G R Royde DFC, Wireless Operator Sgt. E Hazelden French, mid upper gunner Sgt H P Fudge RCAF, and the rear gunner Sgt H A J Berry. Representatives of the families of Sgt Ferguson, Sgt Frank, Flying Officer Royde, and Sgt Berry attended the memorial service along with several eyewitnesses of the events of seventy years ago. The Wings Museum is keen to establish contact with other relatives of the crew and can be contacted via e-mail info@wingsmuseum.co.uk
 
The ceremony was carried out over 2 days and commenced on Friday 24th May 2013 with a flypast of two F16 Falcons generously provided by the Belgian Air Force, to witness this unique event were four relatives of the crew.
 
The final memorial service and unveiling ceremony took place on Saturday 25th May attended by the mayor of Kasterlee. Speeches were read by the mayor, a representative of the Heemkundige Kring and an eyewitness Mr Jacques Boone. The memorial service included a faultless sounding of the last post followed by laying of wreaths and flowers and then another flypast consisting of a Stampe SV4, two Piper Cubs and a Dehavilland Chipmunk flying the ‘missing man’ formation over the crash site followed by a low pass by the Stampe. An exhibition presented by the Wings Museum about the aircraft and its gallant crew were then attended at the town hall of Kasterlee followed by a reception at a local restaurant.
 
The exhibition on the crew of Stirling BF479 and artefacts recovered from the crash site is due to be placed on show at the Wings Museum in Balcombe, West Sussex in near future.
 
The Memorial before the dedication
 
Frank Berry pays an emotional visit to his relatives grave at Schoonselhof
 
 
Representatives of the families of Sgt Ferguson, Sgt Frank, Flying Officer Royde, and Sgt Berry
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The last post is played followed by a minutes silence in reflection of the young lives lost all those years ago.
 
 
Jacque Boone recalls his memories of 70 years ago.
 
 
A large crowd gathered to pay their respects
 
 
Wings Museum Curator Daniel and John Frank in his Coast Guard uniform
 
 
The major reads a moving speech
 
 
An SV4 and Chipmunk fly over the crash site
 
The SV4 performs a low flypast and wing waggle as it heads for home
 
 
The memorial now stands in proud memory of those who lost their lives close to this spot in fight for freedom.
 
 
Families of the crew and those responsible for the memorial dedication
 
 
Our Canadian Friend Rob Ferguson, Rob is now a keen researcher for the Wings Museum.
 
 
Families visit the exact spot where the stricken Stirling crashed 70 years ago along with the curators of the Wings Museum.
 
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The wreckage of Stirling BF479 burnt out on the surface & was recovered by the Germans. Even so the Wings Museum Recovery Team managed to recover many items that were left behind just below the surface.
 
Remembrence
 
 
With thanks to the community of Kasterlee, and the Belgium Air Force. Also Heemkundige Kring a local history group, Jacques Boone, Marcel Borghs and Luc Cox and of course the families for attending.
 
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