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Stained glass memorial to crashed plane installed at Norfolk church

PUBLISHED: 07:59 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:59 20 March 2020

Stained glass memorial to crashed Halifax plane installed at Christ Church, Fulmodeston. Pictures: supplied by Chris Heath

Stained glass memorial to crashed Halifax plane installed at Christ Church, Fulmodeston. Pictures: supplied by Chris Heath

Archant

A stained glass memorial to a crashed Halifax plane has been installed at a Mid Norfolk church.

Christ Church in Fulmodeston. Picture: Ian BurtChrist Church in Fulmodeston. Picture: Ian Burt

A special service to dedicate and bless the panel was held at Christ Church, Fulmodeston near to where the plane crashed on March 4, 1945.

The aircraft was returning home from its mission and landed at Ainlies Farm in Croxton Road. It caught fire and only two crew members survived.

Records show that villagers came out to try to help the crew, with Roy Hawes the first on the scene.

The Barney and Fulmodeston Local History Group researched and fund-raised over a four-year period before commissioning a stained glass artist to create the memorial.

To the left is Gary Howe (treasurer) and Chris Heath (chairman) of Barney and Fulmodeston Local History Group. Picture: Chris HeathTo the left is Gary Howe (treasurer) and Chris Heath (chairman) of Barney and Fulmodeston Local History Group. Picture: Chris Heath

The group’s chairman Chris Heath said: “The memorial window on the south side of Christ Church measures 29 inches tall and 16 inches wide.

“It is mounted in an oak frame, made by one of the members, Brian Mann, with a matching stain to the pews.

“The glass panel was made by an Oxford stained glass artist, Lilian Shaw, who has lived locally and has carried out commissions for local people.”

The Halifax LV 955 was stationed at RAF Foulsham in 1945.

A Halifax at RAF Foulsham. Picture: supplied by Chris HeathA Halifax at RAF Foulsham. Picture: supplied by Chris Heath

At around 8pm on March 3, 1945, the plane took off as part of 192 Squadron. The mission involved 234 aircraft comprising 201 Halifaxes, 21 Lancasters and 12 Mosquitoes from Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Their target was the Kamen oil refinery and the Dortmund-Ems Canal in Germany.

The Halifax carried out its assigned task and was returning to RAF Foulsham, when it was hit.

Plates below the panel, which were made by Cromer Trophies and Engraving, detail the crew members who were F/O E D Roberts, F/O R C Todd, Sergeant K A Sutcliffe, F/O W Darlington, W/O W S Clementson, F/S R G Holmes, Sergeant J C Anderson and Sergeant R T Grapes.

The memorial window can be viewed on most days, subject to church opening arrangements.

The wreckage of the plane in 1945. Picture: supplied by Chris HeathThe wreckage of the plane in 1945. Picture: supplied by Chris Heath

Fulmodeston is working towards a VE day exhibition in the Old School Hall, on May 9, 2020, from 10am to 4pm, which will then be available for viewing in the church.

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