The diversity of aviation memorial locations across the county is impressive. These memorials are not just at airfield sites, but they can also be found in churches, village halls, on city streets and at remote countryside locations. Some memorials are relatively new, whilst others can trace their origins back decades. These memorials, some of them raised through public subscription, reflect the lives of national figures like Albert Ball VC; whilst others are simpler marks of respect that have been erected thanks to the efforts of small groups of individuals. There are even sculptures and pub signs that highlight the county’s contribution to the development of significant aviation technologies. Collectively they play a part in helping to commemorate the county’s aviation heritage. Many individuals had travelled from around the world to air bases in Nottinghamshire to train as World War II bomber crews.
A common bond that joins most of these memorials together is that they commemorate the lives of brave individuals who were lost whilst learning these new skills; often in difficult weather conditions, a long way from home and in a relatively congested airspace, caused by having a lot of airfields so close together. For each of the memorials listed we have provided some background information about the crews involved and the circumstances of the crash; this is merely a snapshot of incidents that are recorded in more detail in books and on websites and we would encourage you to investigate them further. Please be aware that some memorials are located on private land and have been included in this guide thanks to the kind cooperation of the landowners. Please respect their property and follow the access instructions, fuller details on these sites can be found in the original aviation trail available from Newark Air Museum. www.newarkairmuseum.com
13 Hucknall Cemetery
14 Hucknall Flying Bedstead Pub (NOW CLOSED)
15 Hucknall Flying Bedstead
16 Hucknall Harrier Pub
17 Hucknall Market Place
18 Hucknall West Street
25 Newark Cemetery
26 Newark National Westminster
27 Newark Town Hall
29 Nottingham Castle
30 Nottingham Airport
(PILL BOX NOW REMOVED)
31 Radcliffe-on-Trent Totem Pole
32 Radcliffe-on-Trent St Mary’s
33 Southwell Minster
35 Staunton in the Vale
37 Tollerton village
38 Winthorpe Newark Air Museum
39 Wollaton Hall
1945 a Short Stirling bomber EH988 from 1661 HCU at RAF Winthorpe was being flown to Northern Ireland to be scrapped. Shortly after taking off two engines were lost and the aircraft tried to make a forced landing at RAF Hucknall; only to crash on a wooded ridge on the Musters Estate near Annesley. In the late 1990s the Stirling Memorial Group raised money for a memorial close to the crash site. An official unveiling ceremony, carried out by Gp Capt Cook, was held on 16 Sept 1998, with many air force veterans present. Recovered fragments of the lost aircraft are stored in a small wooden casket that is housed at the Newark Air Museum.
This memorial commemorates two aircraft and crew that were lost close to the village during World War II. The first was Wellington HE818 from No.18 OTU at RAF Worksop, which crashed approximately 200m from the site of the memorial on 7th March 1944. The second aircraft was Halifax NA581, which crashed to the northwest of the village in August 1944. This aircraft was flying on a daytime test flight with the RCAF 425 (Alouetté) Squadron out of RAF Tolthorpe, North Yorks, when it suffered engine problems and crashed. The memorial site is in leafy shade on the village green and was erected on 14 Sept 1997.
This aviation memorial plaque was dedicated on 11 Nov 2012 in St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Bunny and commemorates two airmen killed in a Mosquito crash near to the village. Mosquito FB.VI, HJ767 was flying on a night cross-country training exercise from 60 OTU at RAF High Ercall, Salop, when it crashed on 16 June 1944. It is reported that the aircraft developed engine trouble before crash landing into a copse called Bunny Decoy outside of the village. Both airmen on board the aircraft were killed. The pilot, Flt. Lt. JJ K De Roeck (RAFVR) is buried at Nottingham Southern Cemetery; the navigator / observer, Sgt F W D Hearn (RAFVR) is buried at Oxford. St Mary the Virgin Parish Church is normally locked but contact can be made with the verger if you wish to view the memorial plaque.
Fairey Battle L5499 of 300 (Mazovia) Sqn, then operating from RAF Winthorpe, was returning from a raid on Boulogne on 13th October 1940 when it lost control in foggy weather and crashed in the Fox covert Plantation near Calverton. Three crew members were killed in the crash and were buried at Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham. The simple memorial was erected by coal miners who were preparing the nearby railway line to the former Calverton Colliery. This carries the inscription “Perished for our and your freedom – 13th October 1940, 300 Polish Squadron”. A stone base was added to the memorial at a later date.
05 Coddington Village Sign
The Coddington village sign, unveiled on 1 Dec1994, was designed by Barry King and children from the nearby Coddington School and incorporates an image of an aircraft flying from nearby RAF Winthorpe. The village itself was partially formed by RAF Winthorpe married quarters and road names in the village such as Hampdens Close, Lancaster Road and Stirling Drive reflect those aviation connections.
06 Cotgrave Place
Whilst converting to fly Wellingtons, B Flight of 12 Squadron was dispersed to RAF Tollerton. During a local familiarisation flight on 8 Feb 1941 Wellington II W5365 suffered two control problems, nearly diving into the ground on each occasion. Despite regaining control the pilot was unable to avoid hitting an oak tree whilst attempting to land back at Tollerton. Local farm workers attempted to rescue the crew members from the crash site. There were two survivors and six fatalities; all of whom are named on the Cotgrave Place memorial.
This memorial was erected in 1994 by friends, relatives and villagers of Farnsfield to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the loss of 578 Squadron Halifax, MZ519. The aircraft crashed on 6 July 1944 whilst returning from a raid on a V1 launch site at Croixdalle, France, killing all seven crew members. Parfitt Road on the outskirts of the village itself is named after the pilot of the aircraft and a second memorial plaque on the edge of a relatively new housing estate denotes this fact. Further details about this particular memorial can be found on this website www.farnsfieldbomber.org.uk
08 Fernwood Lancaster Grange
The name of this residential care home was chosen by children at nearby Claypole Primary School, as part of a naming competition. Lancaster Grange was chosen in honour of the brave airmen who flew Lancaster Bombers from RAF Balderton in World War II. The care home proudly displays a weather vane in the shape of a Lancaster bomber.
This memorial was erected by a family in memory of their son and six of his comrades from RAF Syerston who lost their lives in a crash on 26 May 1944. Some reports indicate that a contributing factor of the crash was a parachute harness blocking the flight controls of the Lancaster L7578. The crew were buried in a collective grave in the military section at Newark Cemetery, on Elm Avenue (see memorial 25).
10 Greasley Parish Hall
This illuminated memorial print commemorates three Mosquito aircraft crashes from 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron RAuxAF that occurred close to the village in the late 1940s. The losses detailed on the print are: Mosquito V350 crashed on take-off from Hucknall on 23 Aug 1947. Mosquito VP345 crashed on New Road, Greasley, near to the Horse and Groom public house on 13 Mar 1948. Mosquito RK933 crashed on New Road Field, Greasley, only 300 metres from the VP345 crash site on 10 Apr 1948. Subscriptions for the print came from the 504 Squadron Association and members; the local RAFA branch; Hucknall ATC; and local residents.
In the early hours of Sat 10 Apr 1943, Lancaster ED832 belonging to 1661 HCU took off from RAF Winthorpe. At 0125hrs, just 8 miles from the airfield, the aircraft crashed after clipping power lines and all seven crew members were killed. The three Commonwealth airmen were buried at Newark Cemetery and the other crew members were returned to their home towns. The dedication service on 10th April 2011 was attended by more than 200 people, including relatives of the crew members lost in the crash; some of whom travelled from Australia and Canada. Also in attendance were representatives of the RAF, RCAF and RAAF; civic dignitaries and many local villagers who helped make the arrangements for the raising of the memorial. Funding for the memorial was provided by a grant from the Nottinghamshire County Council’s LIS and the donation of the main memorial stone by Aggregates & Concrete UK.
These memorials commemorate two Lancaster crews, which crashed on separate nights in Jan1945. Both aircraft were on training operations from No. 5 LFS at RAF Syerston, which is located on the ridge over on the opposite bank of the river. Lancaster Mk III JB125 crashed on 12 Jan 1945 whilst trying to land back at Syerston. The aircraft caught fire, killing the crew, despite rescue attempts by villagers from Hoveringham who tried to rescue the airmen. This crew comprised of three New Zealanders and four British airmen. Lancaster Mk III LM308 crashed on 29 Jan 1945 whilst on their final training flight. In the circuit at Syerston eyewitnesses saw flames from both port engines before the aircraft crashed at high speed and exploded on impact; the crew were killed instantly. This crew comprised of five Canadians and two British airmen. Work on the memorials was instigated by Sir Edward and Lady Helen Nall and they were dedicated in a ceremony on 30 May 2010. Further details about this particular memorial can be found on this website www.hoveringham.org.uk/ lancaster.html
13 Hucknall – Cemetery 5
In Hucknall Cemetery there are 34 World War II burials and also a small Commonwealth War Graves section in the north eastern part of the cemetery, which contains 15 graves, 14 of which are Polish airmen. There are reports of a memorial plaque, but all that can be seen is a concrete plinth set into the ground in front of the first two graves. Unfortunately it is difficult to read the writing on this plinth, but it seems to relate to two Polish airmen who are buried there.
14 Hucknall – Flying Bedstead Pub
Work at Hucknall on the VTOL concept in the early 1950s arose out of a proposal from Dr A A Griffiths of Rolls-Royce Ltd for an experimental test-rig to investigate control and stability factors affecting V-TOL flight. Mr J S Hart, the Chief Installation Designer at Hucknall designed a Thrust Measuring Rig, which became known as the ‘Flying Bedstead’. This work was instrumental in the subsequent development of the world famous Harrier ‘Jump-Jet Fighter’, a story that is also explained through various exhibits and displays at the Newark Air Museum. This memorial was another unusual one for the Hucknall area as it is a public house called the Flying Bedstead.
15 Hucknall Flying Bedstead roundabout
This enigmatic sculpture depicts the Thrust Measuring Rig, which became known as the ‘Flying Bedstead’ and can so easily be missed as it is partially surrounded by trees and bushes.
16 Hucknall – Harrier Pub
This was another public house that celebrated Hucknall’s connections with the Rolls-Royce VTOL engine development programme. Many of the roads on the housing estates around this area have aviation connections, through aircraft names like Lancaster Road and Harrier Grove; or with aero engine connections like Merlin Drive and Nene Close.
17 Hucknall Market Place
This memorial stone was raised in memory of 504 Squadron (County of Nottingham) RAuxAF, which was formed at nearby RAF Hucknall on 26 Mar 1928 Arrangements for the memorial were undertaken by 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron Association and the local council. A service of dedication was held in Hucknall Parish Church before the formal unveiling and wreath laying ceremonies were completed on 30 Jun 2012 in the presence of many local civic dignitaries. 504 Squadron (County of Nottingham) RAuxAF was incorporated into RAF Fighter Command at the outbreak of World War II and operated during the Battle of Britain; and flew Hurricanes and Spitfires. The squadron was disbanded in 1957; during the late 1990s a new unit was formed at RAF Cottesmore as an OSRSS of the RAF.
18 Hucknall – West Street
This memorial relates to a nearby crash on 23 Sept 1940, when a Fairey Battle K9480 from 18 OTU at RAF Hucknall crashed into houses at the nearby corner of Ruffs Drive and Laughton Crescent. The crash resulted in the death of the pilot and several members of the Evans family who lived in one house and are buried at Broomhill Road Cemetery. The occupants of the other house, the Smith family, were injured but survived. The inscription on the memorial is understood to read “Sleep well dear friend and dream of a free Poland”. A more recent and unusual memorial sits in the wall alongside the Polish Memorial. This is “In Memory of Sally, a Collie Dog ‘Pride of Hucknall’”, which whilst alive raised funds for the Royal Air Force Association, the Royal British Legion and the Polish Red Cross.
The town’s distinctive rotunda war memorial features a small clock tower, references to the town’s war dead from various conflicts and a bronze plaque that displays a distinctive Lancaster bomber. Adjacent to the war memorial is a bronze plaque that was part funded by the Nottinghamshire County Council under a precursor to the LIS grant scheme. This plaque commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the famous Dambusters Raid and it is dedicated to local airman Sgt Richard Bolitho. Sgt Bolitho lived on James Street in Kimberley and he was a rear gunner with 617 Squadron – ‘The Dambusters’. Sgt Bolitho was killed when his Lancaster aircraft, ED864 ‘B’ for Baker, crashed after hitting power cables near Achling Aarben, North Dorsten, Germany at 12.15 on 17 May 1943 whilst on route to the Möhne Dam in the Ruhr valley.
The memorial was erected by the local community in tribute to the 251 members of 207 Squadron who gave their lives whilst serving at the airfield during World War II. It was dedicated and unveiled on 12th May 1994 by Mrs D Ware who was the widow of Sgt Thomas Skelton, who was lost on ops from Langar 13th May 1943. A wooden seat located alongside the memorial was donated by Mrs Ware and a Memorial Book to 207 Squadron was also placed in St. Andrew’s Church, Langar. Further details about this particular memorial can be found on: www.207squadron.rafinfo.org.uk/ langar10/
Two memorials in Laxton commemorate a World War II Wellington bomber training operation crash. The aircraft lost was LP841 from No.82 OTU flying out of nearby RAF Ossington; it crashed shortly after take-off on 5 Jan 1945 and wreckage fell into the South Field at Laxton. Two separate memorial stones were dedicated on 6 Jan 2013. The first memorial stone was installed in the church and it bears the names of the four members of the RCAF who were killed in the crash and the name of the one survivor. A second memorial has been located by the roadside on Moorhouse Road, just outside of the village. This overlooks the crash site, where the aircraft hit an electrical pole near a stream and burst into flames. The tail section of the aircraft broke away, enabling the rear gunner Sgt. R Edento escape. He was eventually led to safety by villagers.
22 Lenton - Albert Ball VC
Albert Ball VC lost his life near Annoeullin, France whilst flying with 56 Squadron on 7 Mayn 1917. Two days later he was given a full military funeral by German sat Annoeullin Cemetery and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on 8 June 1917, which was presented to his parents on 22 July 1917 by King George V. The Albert Ball VC Memorial Homes were built by Albert Ball Senior and his wife in memory of their son; to house the widows and mothers of Lenton servicemen killed in the war. The properties were designed by a Col AW Brewill and were opened on 7 Sept 1922. Albert Ball VC is also the first name listed on the Lenton War memorial, which is located in front of the Memorial Homes.
This memorial bench was installed to commemorate amid-air collision between a Tornado GR1 aircraft from the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, RAF Cottesmore and a Cessna 152 aircraft on 21 Jan 1999, west of the village. Four people were killed in this tragic incident.
The memorial stone was raised in the memory of six, IX(B) Squadron airmen who lost their lives when their Lancaster bomber, DV334 (WS-C) crashed on the night of 3 Dec 1943; having returned from a bombing raid on Berlin. Around 500 people attended the dedication ceremony for this memorial at the Milton Mausoleum on 19 May 2013.Lancaster DV334 had been diverted from its home base of RAF Bardney, Lincs and initially tried to land at RAF Ossington, Notts. However heavy fog prevented landing at this initial diversion site and the pilot then attempted to land at the nearby RAF Gamston. This attempt was successful and then, low on fuel the Lancaster crash landed in a field close to the Milton Mausoleum. Funding for the stone was provided by Nottinghamshire County Council via a LIS grant.
25 Newark Cemetery
Newark and indeed Nottinghamshire’s strong links with the Royal Air Force and the Polish Air Force is reflected in the war graves section that was established in the town’s cemetery during World War II. Here around 90 Commonwealth and nearly 400 Polish burials were made. Amongst these are the graves relating to the other memorials detailed in this booklet at Gonalston and Staunton. Around 50 World War I burials were carried out in different parts of the cemetery. In 1941 a memorial cross was erected in memory of the Polish airmen. This was unveiled by ex-President of the Polish Republic President Raczkiewicz (head of the war time Polish Government in London) and General Sikorski, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Forces (war time Polish Prime Minister). When both men died, they were buried at the foot of the Polish Memorial. General Sikorski’s remains were returned to Krakow, Poland in1993, but there is still a memorial to him at Newark. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Air Bridge Association in1989 the ‘Air Bridge Memorial’ was unveiled in the cemetery. This was in tribute to 250 Airmen of Britain, the Commonwealth and Poland who gave their lives dropping supplies to the Polish Home Army during the1944 Warsaw Uprising. Between 4 Aug and 21 Sept 1944 over 200 flights were made from airfields in Italy over Yugoslavia, Hungary and the Carpathians to Poland. An annual memorial service is held to commemorate the Air Bridge at the end of September. Efforts are currently underway to secure funding to convert part of the cemetery’s memorial chapel into a Visitor Centre.
26 Newark National Westminster Bank
This memorial plaque, donated by Mr & Mrs Tony Wilkinson, is dedicated to the men and women who served in nearby airfields and walked the ancient streets of Newark during the war years, 1939-1945. It was erected by the Bomber Airfield Society and is located on a site provided by the National Westminster Bank PLC.
27 Newark Town Hall
Newark Town Hall is a grade one listed building and one of the finest examples of a Town Hall in the country. The Town Hall Museum and Art Gallery houses a range of aviation related objects, which can be viewed when the collection is open. Of major note is the illuminated scroll granting “freedom of the Borough” to RAF Syerston in April 1964, which is displayed in the first-floor lobby outside the Pickin Room. Inside the Pickin Room there is a display cabinet of objects related to the town’s military and RAF connections. www.newarktownhallmuseum.co.uk
28 Nottingham – Canal Street
This plaque was unveiled by the Sheriff of Nottingham on 30 Nov 2013 to mark the 200th anniversary of one of Nottinghamshire’s earliest aviation events; the first successful balloon flight from Nottingham. The plaque has been located close to what is believed to have been the original launch site for the balloon back in 1813. It is understood that thousands of people travelled to Nottingham to witness the balloon flight, which was made by James Sadler on 1 Nov 1813. Approval to get the plaque sited in the city was secured by the Nottingham Civic Society and the East Midlands Balloon Group.
29 Nottingham Castle Albert Ball VC
After Albert Ball’s death on 7 May 1917 a Memorial service was held at St Mary’s Church, Nottingham. The Nottingham City Council then opened a subscription fund for a memorial in his memory. The statue, commissioned by the sculptor Henry Poole, was formally unveiled in the grounds of Nottingham Castle by Air Marshal Trenchard on 8 Sept 1921. An annual service of remembrance takes place on 7 May each year in the castle grounds, which is normally attended by surviving members of the Ball family along with representatives of Armed Forces. Some artefacts relating to Albert Ball VC are displayed in the Castle Museum.
30 Nottingham City Airport – Tollerton (No Longer Present)
Over the years no less than nine different memorial plaques have been positioned on the restored pillbox, which originally formed part of the airfield’s defences during World War II. These memorials included references to individual RAF squadrons and units that were based there; and the crew of a Wellington Mk II aircraft W5365 that crashed on 8 Feb 1941 (this aircraft/crew is also commemorated at a separate memorial site at Cotgrave Place). The memorials had also marked the airfield’s satellite role for RAF Syerston and RAF Newton; and commemorations to the ATC and 2425 Squadron ATC.
31 Radcliffe-on-Trent – Totem Pole
On 15 Sept 2013 this unusual memorial of a 17ft tall totem pole, was formally handed over to the local village by the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner Susan Gregson. The totem pole, carved by local resident Christopher Smith, honours the families of 205 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel who served at nearby Langar airfield at the height of the Cold War. These families came to live in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Notts between 1956 and 1963. The colourful totem pole features a range of carved symbols that represent different aspects of Canadian life and a small brass plaque at the base of the totem pole commemorates the handover.
32 Radcliffe-on-Trent St Mary’s Church
Amongst the various elegant stained-glass windows in St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe-on-Trent there are two windows which have aviation connections, and these are located in the south wall. These commemorate the town’s connections with the RCAF and they were dedicated in 1962. One has an RAF Crest and the writing “From 30 Air Materiel Base”, whilst the other has a maple leaf and the writing “Royal Canadian Air Force 1962”. The RCAF connections relate to RCAF Langar whose personnel were stationed in Radcliffe in the 1950s through until 1963. These connections are further illustrated by the fact that Radcliffe-on-Trent has an estate of houses with roads that are named after Canadian cities (Vancouver, Regina, Prince Edward etc.). Some of the houses on the estate are reputed to have had the first upright fridge freezers delivered from Canada for occupants.
33 Southwell Minster
In the north choir aisle of Southwell Minster is the beautiful Airmen’s Chapel, which reflects the county’s diverse aviation history. The chapel altar was built at RAF Norton (Sheffield) in 1919 out of aircraft propellers. The triptych that sits on the altar was inspired by a Dame Edith Sitwell poem, ‘Still falls the rain’, this was installed in 1988. The cast iron altar cross and candlesticks were made from the cylinder block from an aeroplane engine. A communion rail with the RAF eagle and crown was made at nearby RAF Newton in 1984. In front of the rail there is a carpet emblazoned with the RAF crest and the kneelers also have aviation designs woven into them. The carpet was given by Elsie and Doris Waters in gratitude for the safe return of their brother Horace John Waters (better known as Jack Warner of Dixon of Dock Green). The RAF ensign, which hangs in the chapel, was presented by No 12 Group Fighter Command and a memorial plaque commemorating this presentation is located behind the chapel lectern and relates to the 1939 to 1945 period. A Polish flag hanging alongside the RAF ensign marks the county’s close ties with Poland, which is further emphasised by the wall mounted plaque by Ronald Simms that commemorates the Katyn Forest Massacre in Poland. Please be aware that depending on the church season, some of these artefacts may not always be in position. This entry is included with the kind permission of The Dean and Chapter of Southwell Minster.
In the late afternoon of 14 April 1944 two aircraft were on separate training flights over Nottinghamshire when they suffered a mid-air collision, which resulted in the loss of eleven airmen. Two were flying in Oxford LB415 from 1521 BAT Flight at RAF Wymeswold, Leics; the other nine were flying in Lancaster W4103 from 5 LFS at RAF Syerston. Eyewitnesses at the time of the crash reported that both pilots bravely steered their stricken aircraft away from the village of Screveton and into more open countryside, thereby reducing the risk of casualties on the ground. Initial research into the mid-air collision was carried out by one of the schoolboy witnesses of the incident and the memorial was finally dedicated on 13 Nov 2005.
35 Staunton in the Vale
This memorial commemorates the crew of 61 Squadron Lancaster W4270 that crashed 1 mile north west of St Mary’s Church on 18 Feb 1943. The aircraft was operating from RAF Syerston and was returning there when it got into difficulties. All of the crew were killed in the crash and most were returned for burial in their home town. However, the Canadian pilot “Herb” Warne is buried in Newark Cemetery (No 307 Section P). Research into the crash has brought to light a lot of new information, including the fact that the crew trained with 1661 HCU at RAF Winthorpe. The memorial was rededicated on 3 July 2010, when new plaques were unveiled and at the same time contact was made with the last of the aircrew’s relatives. The LIS grant fund has also provided an interpretation board for the site.
36 Syerston – Longhedge Lane
At the end of Longhedge Lane next to an airfield gate is a silver birch tree that was planted in memory of Corporal Audrey Mee Henderson. Alongside the tree two small plaques have been fastened to the wooden fence, which commemorate Audrey and her husband, P/O Donald James Henderson. Both of whom served at RAF Syerston at various times from 1942 to 1947.
37 Tollerton village Air Hostess pub
This Everards public house proudly displays a sign that features an air hostess and a Boeing 707 aircraft. The site aviation connections are further enhanced by its location on Stanstead Avenue. The village also has a distinctive village sign that has aviation content, which is located at the junction of Nottingham Road and Cotgrave Lane.
38 Winthorpe Newark Air Museum
Over the years Winthorpe Newark Air Museum has dedicated several memorials to reflect RAF Winthorpe’s role as a training base. The RAF Winthorpe / 1661 HCU memorial that was unveiled on 24 Sept 2000 features part of a propeller hub of a Stirling EF186, from 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), which was then based at RAF Winthorpe. The aircraft crashed at Breeder Hills near Grantham, Lincs on 4 Dec 1944 carrying a crew of nine and there were no survivors. In 2002 nine weeping cherry trees were planted around the memorial, each marked with the name of an aircrew member that was killed when Stirling EF186 crashed. Various additional memorials / displays can be found by exploring the museum site. These include items relating to the Polish Air Force and their squadrons which operated from the airfield. In the Lancaster Corner display area of Hangar 1 is a commemorative plaque in memory of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC and Sqn Ldr Jim Warwick DFC. They were killed in September 1944 when their Mosquito aircraft crashed in The Netherlands. Close by is an extensive display that commemorates a 1661 HCU crew that trained together at RAF Winthorpe in March 1944. They flew operationally with 619 Squadron and their aircraft ME846 was lost over northern Belgium in June 1944. A plaque commemorating a World War I airman Lt Pierce is now located in the Exhibition Hall. The Sutton Wick Beverley crash is commemorated at the museum with a tree; bench; and a plaque in Hangar 2. In April 2013 the museum hosted a dedication service in memory of two airmen who were killed when an Avro Tutor training aircraft (K4814) from 2 CFS RAF Cranwell, Lincs crashed in April 1941. The crash site is at Langford Moor, Coddington, just north east of the current museum site. Those killed in the crash were P/O the Reverend Richard Inge and P/O Robert Lanchester.
39 Wollaton Hall
March 1944 saw the grounds of Wollaton Park being used by the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the American 82nd Airborne Division to house over 2000 men. Men from the 508th took part in ‘Operation Overlord’, jumping on 6 June 1944, with their objective being Sainte-Mère-Église. The survivors of this action returned to Wollaton in July 1944 where they re-mustered for ‘Operation Market Garden’ jumping on 17 Sept 1944 near the Waal River at Nijmegen. The unit later fought in the Ardennes during the ‘Battle of Bulge’. This memorial was constructed by young offenders supervised by the Notts Probation Service and was unveiled on 27 June 2010.
40 Woodborough Church
On the internal wall of the church pulpit is a small plaque that commemorates a mid-air collision over the village on 26 May 1966. The aircraft that collided were two Jet Provosts from RAF Syerston and debris from the collision fell within the confines of the village. Unusually for aviation memorials the last lines on this plaque read as follows: “Thanks be to God. No one was hurt”.
Memorial To 7 Aircraft Losses
Seventy five (75) years to the day that two Avro Lancaster bombers collided in the skies over Nottinghamshire close to the village on Bleasby, an evocative memorial was dedicated on Saturday 1st September 2018. A total seven aircraft and crew losses are commemorated on the memorial.
The mid-air collision that took place on September 1st, 1943 was between a 61 Squadron, Lancaster, JB132, that was returning to nearby RAF Syerston, from a bombing raid on Berlin; and Lancaster, R5698, from 1654 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit), based at RAF Wigsley, in north western Nottinghamshire. A total of fourteen airmen were lost in this one collision.
The memorial has been raised as part of a community project led by Bleasby resident Ken Ogilvie, and overseen by Bleasby Parish Council, the churchwardens of St Mary’s Church, and Bleasby Local History Society.
The concept design of the memorial was created by Nottingham architect Keith Clark, villager Derek McGrath and Ken Ogilvie. It was engineered, manufactured and installed by Michael Wright, of D & M Stonemasons of Redhill, Nottingham, and his partners in India.
The main part of the memorial is a stone seat, which is a scale replica of a Lancaster tail section; the crew names and aircraft / squadron details of four (4) crashes are inscribed on in the inner and outer surfaces of the ‘vertical tail fins’.
This commemorative seat is set to the rear of a paved area featuring a stone plaque that incorporates the crew names and aircraft/squadron of other three (3) crashes.
Around 180 (one hundred and eighty) invited guests; including relatives of the airmen commemorated on the memorial, and civic dignitaries attended a Thanksgiving Service at the nearby St Mary’s Church, Bleasby. The service was led by the Bleasby parish vicar, Revd. Phil White MA and the Venerable Robin Turner CB DL (RAF Ret’d).
Work on the project started back in 2013 and money to fund the memorial was raised via special events, talks and other activities, including a steam train charter on the Great Central Railway. A grant of £5,500 came from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme supported by the local member for Southwell, Mr Roger Jackson, and Mrs Sue Saddington, the member for Farndon.
The memorial is located on Glebe Field, just across from the Waggon & Horses public house and next to St Mary’s Church Bleasby. There is a small car parking area adjacent to the church and memorial site.
The other memorial (bomb) has recently been installed in the Memorial Garden at the museum and it is dedicated to 5131 RAF Bomb Disposal Squadron 21 April 1943 to 31 March 2020. This unit was disbanded in the early phase of the lockdown, without any of the usual ceremonies and we have taken on board lots of their items, and the memorial will form part of our remembrance of them and their personnel. New display being installed in the Hangar as well – including their Honours Board.
For each of these sites of interest please see the original Aviation Trail by Mr Howard Heeley, Newark Air Museum, Nottinghamshire County Council, for full details visit: www.newarkairmuseum.org
The original trail has further information, details and grid references. Always check permission for access before visiting any of the sites.
We would like to thank the author, Mr Howard Heeley, Newark Air Museum, for the permission to re-print this trail.