Memorial at HMP Whitemoor planned to remember plane crash victims during Second World War
PUBLISHED: 17:16 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:16 06 July 2020
Organisers of a memorial planned to be installed at HMP Whitemoor say their idea will ensure those who lost their lives during the Second World War will never be forgotten.
Six crew members and three additional staff from the 115 Squadron at RAF Marham lost their lives when their Wellington Mk 1c Z8863 plane crashed into a marshalling yard at the March prison on November 24, 1941 during a training flight.
Staff from the maintenance team at the prison and its nature reserve have been planning to install a memorial since January for those who died, after being advised to inform visitors about the crash.
Mark Twiddy, a member of the maintenance team, said: “It all started from a suggestion that we should put an information board at the nature reserve to say what wildlife you may see while walking through there.
“One of the team went to see Peter Wright, a historian, to make sure we were putting the right information on the board about this aircraft crash.
“We then started to do an investigation thanks to Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum. Once we found out more, we decided as a team that we should put a memorial to them.”
The memorial will be formed from trees provided by the Ministry of Justice, with each tree dedicated to a plaque to every crew member and one plaque for the squadron.
Mr Twiddy and his team have received positive feedback on the memorial plans and are on the hunt to find relatives of any of the crew members.
So far, only one from the Fens has been identified, AC2 Gordon Sydney Wakefield who is believed to be buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Wisbech, but Mr Twiddy is keeping faith.
He said: “There are a lot of people that are impressed with what we’re doing and a lot of people have commented, which to us, is brilliant.
“Some of the bricks will all have been left over from the original building of the prison, so it has been minimal cost. We have not had to raise thousands.
“I have put messages out on Facebook and sent emails to where we think they may be and had some responses, but sadly not from everybody.
“Something like this does not need sweeping under the carpet and needs remembering.”
Mr Twiddy and his team aim to unveil the memorial either in August or September.
The other crew members known to have died are George Robert Bruce, Percival Miles Taylor, Henry Norman O’Shea, Percy George Crosbie, William Myrddin Evans, Ernest Alfred Lawrence, Jack Dix and James Crosby Fox.
If anyone has more information on AC2 Gordon Sydney Wakefield, or on any living relatives of the crew members, email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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