B-24 Liberator bomber crew remembered 75 years after crash
PUBLISHED: 14:30 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 17 February 2020
A memorial stone and plaque were unveiled to honour the men whose lives were lost when a B-24 Liberator bomber crashed 75 years ago during the Second World War.
The stricken plane crashed near Field Dalling, about four miles from Holt, on February 17, 1945, while attempting to return to its home base at Attlebridge, near Norwich.
It resulted in the deaths of its six crew members and two Italian POW voluntary farm labourers.
The events were researched by a small team of local people who also retrieved several crash items confirming the plane's identity and exact location of the crash site.
The memorial stone and plaque to mark the location were erected and paid for by voluntary donations, and unveiled on Monday, February 17.
The ceremony involved military representatives from the 100 Air Refuelling Wing from the US base at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.
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The organising team behind the event included Reg Rogers and Nigel Crossland, from Saxlingham Road, Blakeney, who said: "There were no newspapers reports and police records are almost bare.
"Available evidence comes from witness reports recorded a couple of decades later and official reports from the US authorities.
"There were six members of the crew who died and three parachuted to safety. Two Italian POW voluntary farm labourers also died as the plane crashed through the field hedgerows. They had been bussed in that morning from the internment camp at Pudding Norton, near Fakenham, to assist one of the farmers.
"A fire had developed in one of its engines and the plane crash-landed with a full complement of weapons and also with full fuel tanks. The latter attracted locals who attempted to salvage the spilling fuel for use in their tractors."
Guidance and enthusiast support also came from the nephew of a member of the plane's crew who lives in the USA, and did not wish to be named.
The commemoration ceremony and dedication of the new memorial, which will replace the existing one, took place in the village hall, as the crash site was too difficult to access. It will be moved to the site at a later date.