Today was the 78th anniversary of the crash of Royal Air Force Wellington Bomber BK387 on a hillside above Oakworth on 2nd January 1944.
The crew were on a training flight from Ossington Airfield in Lincolnshire, which resulted in the total loss of the aircraft and all six members of the crew, who were all from the Royal Canadian Air Force. The aircraft was flying at night and in foggy conditions, it narrowly missed the Grouse Inn, but failed to clear the hill top at Tewitt Woods and came down in the trees and broke up, killing all six crew members.
Fifty six local people attended today's ceremony in extremely wet and windy weather at Tewitt Lane. The crew members are all buried at Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate, where their graves are in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They were: Pilot – Warrant Officer Class 2 – Ernest Israel Glass; Navigator – Flying Officer – James Justin McHenry; Wireless Operator and Air Gunner – Warrant Officer Class 2 – Jack Henfrey; Air Bomber – Warrant Officer Class 2 – James Edwin Dalling; Air Gunner – Sergeant – Norman Willard Crawford and Air Gunner – Sergeant – Emery Savage.
The ceremony comprised a welcoming introduction by Janet Armstrong MBE followed by a reading by Lay Preacher
Mrs Sharon Quinn from Oakworth Christ Church.
The Act of Remembrance took place with a minute's silence for reflection. The Last Post, and Reveille were played by bugler Judith Hales, followed by the laying of poppy wreaths, the hymn 'Abide With Me' was then sung, followed by prayers and a blessing.
Wreaths were laid by:
Deputy Lieutenant Robin Wright for HM Queen Elizabeth II
Colonel James Hawthorne, Adjutant, Royal Canadian Air Force
District Councillor Russell Brown on behalf of Bradford's Lord Mayor
District Councillor Chris Herd on behalf of Robbie Moore MP
Keighley's Deputy Mayor, Town Councillor Luke Maunsell
John Sugden, President of Oakworth Village Society
Ian Walkden, Keighley British Legion
Wreaths were also laid by a Police Sergeant from West Yorkshire Police and a Cadet from Keighley Air Training Corps, who also provided the guard of honour.
Andy Wade of The Men of Worth Project said: 'Colonel Hawthorne of the Royal Canadian Air Force made a speech expressing his thanks to all those attending and his gratitude for our remembrance of his fellow countrymen who died in the crash so many years ago. He said how emotional and touching it was to see that their sacrifice was not forgotten by the people who attended each year.'
Afterwards, people were invited to attend Oakworth Community Hall for very welcome hot drinks and refreshments supplied by members of Oakworth Community Trust.
See our dedicated page about the 1944 crash and the airmen here