It is right, that the nine men who perished that day, ready and willing to defend the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and all those standing with us… are remembered with honour and dignity on the quiet walls of an English church.
With these words, Reverend Chris Harrington closed the service held last year to dedicate a memorial stone to the crew of 83 Squadron Lancaster ED439, which crashed in the English village of Scredington 71 years ago today.
I’ve posted about Scredington before, but I recently received a small package in the mail from the UK. Mike Galvin – Honorary Secretary of the National Service (RAF) Association, Lincolnshire Branch – sent me a DVD made up of footage that was taken on the day. It’s quite a production.
St Andrews Church in Scredington is fairly small, as these things go, though it does have an imposingly tall steeple. The building – decorated for the occasion with red white and blue RAF standards – can nominally seat 145 people, but somehow on the day they managed to squeeze 185 inside, including 33 relatives of six members of the crew. The ceremony appears to have gone off to plan. A reading from a book written by a local man who was a young lad at the time of the crash set the scene. Neil Trotter, the man whose childhood memories and dedication sparked the memorial project, addressed the congregation and made a point that resonates with the ethos behind somethingverybig.com.
Having retired after 37 years serving in the Royal Air Force, Neil wanted to find out what he could about the crash he remembered as a child. He wrote a letter which was posted online and, eventually, seen by someone who knew more of the story and got in touch. This contact came about because of the extraordinary reach of the internet. I’ve had similar success connecting with people from all over the world as a direct result of posts I’ve made on this blog. In part, that’s why I write here. It lets me get the story out to a much wider audience than has ever been possible before, and the power of search engines means that anybody with an internet connection can find it and get in touch. It’s certainly been a really useful concept for my research so far, as it was for Neil.
The main section of the video ends with the bugler inside the church. It’s been over-dubbed and merged with footage of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster making a fly-past over the village. The Merlins swell as the Last Post rings out.
It’s spine-tingling stuff, even if you weren’t there.
©2014 Adam Purcell