On October 1st 2017, 9.30 am I have been invited to sing Requiem for a Soldier as part of a commemoration led by David Moore to remember those lost when a Lancaster Bomber crashed near Gunthorpe. Would be lovely to see people there.
By David Moore – A Time To Remember
On 1st October this year we will remember those lost when a Lancaster Bomber crashed on our patch exactly 75 years ago. Why should we remember those 7 young men, when so many thousands died in Bomber Command, and so many millions died in World War 2 worldwide? The answer is that they died on our patch, and it is a special anniversary. We simply cannot remember everyone who has died every day – it would be simply overwhelming and crippling to our life. But it is good to remember occasionally. On Remembrance Sunday, once a year, we remember generally all those who died in the service of their country, and by implication, for us, to save us from the evil of Nazi Germany. On that day, we also remember those from our own villages who died, because that makes it more personal – there is a connection with us – and we can cope with it.
Remembering is good because we learn not to take our freedom for granted, but to remember that it was bought at great price. And there is a parallel in our lives today. Our freedom from guilt and sin was bought at a great price by Jesus on the cross, and we remember that each year on Good Friday. Just as in 1945, the Allies won the war, and we were saved from the tyranny of the Nazis, on Easter Sunday, we remember that Jesus won the battle against Satan, and rose again.
75 years ago, George, Fred, George, John, Joe, Jack and Lloyd took off on a mission from RAF Syerston, just down the road from Gunthorpe in a Lancaster Bomber heading for Germany. George, the pilot and Squadron Leader was from New Zealand, and Lloyd was Canadian. The other George was from Sussex, and John from Edinburgh.
A mere 30 seconds or so into the flight there was a freak accident – the life raft inflated. As it was in the wing, it got wrapped round the tailplane and forced the plane into a dive. There was nothing the pilot could do. In fact, being only a few hundred feet up, the crash was just a few seconds later. Although the offical record doesn’t say, it is almost inevitable that the 10 tons of petrol would have caught fire, and death would have followed very quickly. And as the fire got going, six tons of bombs would have got very unstable in the heat, and exploded a few minutes later. And this happened just half a mile or so from Gunthorpe. Had the immersion switch on the life raft failed just 10 seconds later, the plane would have hit the village itself, with disastrous consequences.
To remember the lives of these young men, we are having a special service of commemoration at Gunthorpe on 1st October at 9:30. Local branches of the British Legion will be present with their Standards. There will be Air Cadets, and a moving requiem sung by Jayne Darling. Please come and join us if you can.
David Moore, Reader