"Take these men as your example, like them remember that posterity can only be for the free: that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it." Pericles, 431 BC

Friday, 13 December 2013


Village Hall, Frettenham

52.71224, 1.31395
TG 239 178
photos taken 11 December 2013

Kingsley Crew

Frettenham Village History

This memorial, inside the village hall, commemorates the crash of the Belle of Boston. Trevor Hewitt was instrumental in getting this display installed. The cases are made from English Oak from trees in the village, and a village craftsman built them free of charge.

Trevor's grandfather and father pulled the crew from the Belle of Boston, which crashed on Frettenham Common on 8 May 1944 shortly after takeoff. When the memorial was dedicated  in 2004 the hall was packed to overflowing.

Items retrieved from the crash site.


TG 233 177
photos taken 11 December 2013

Hookem Cow website

458th Bomb Group

Finally! We were able to spend a couple hours with Trevor Hewitt, who was responsible for this memorial, which lies at the place the fuselage of the Hookem Cow came to rest. Trevor is very knowledgeable about the three crashes in the area: The Sally, the Hookem Cow and the Belle of Boston. His father and grandfather pulled the crew from the Belle of Boston, which crashed on Frettenham Common.

This  is on the entrance drive to a farm, so is private property; please be respectful if you visit. The  memorial isn't very big, and looks better in the summer! This was a difficult memorial to find, so I'm very pleased to have been able to visit and learn so much from Trevor.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Kirby Bedon Crash Site

52.60941, 1.37093
TG 283 066
Photos taken 27 November 2013

This is a small memorial, on the side of a field in Kirby Bedon, close to the site of the crash. You can park on Mill Hill, which is a one-track dirt road, just across from the entrance to the conservation area. You'll need to drag open the gate (be sure to shut it again!), and walk up to the memorial. We followed the track until the bracken got too thick, then walked around the field to the site of the memorial. Be sure to take your wellies!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Book Recommendation

I've just started reading this. I borrowed it from the local library, but I'm going to have to buy it. A fascinating read for anyone who has an interest in what the Eight did over here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Virtual Cemeteries

I'm still trying to find locations for a couple of memorials, so while I'm waiting, I've been looking up the gravesites of the boys who are mentioned on crash memorials in the area. Find a Grave is a valuable resource, and I have set up two virtual cemeteries: one for those buried in the American cemetery at Madingley, Cambridgeshire, and another for all of them.

Here they are:

American Cemetery at Madingley


I've also put these links in the "links" section of the blog.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Notes on Hainford

Since I'm having some trouble tracking down a couple of new leads, I thought I'd post a bit of information I have on one of the memorials I'm looking for: Hainford, Norfolk.

Hainford is the site of the Hookem Cow crash on 14 April 1945. She was a B24, flying out of Horsham St Faith. She has her own website, where you can find loads of information:

Hookem Cow

I have found the gravesites of the boys who died in the crash, and they can be found here:

USAAF burials

And here is a photo, from, of the memorial at the crash site. I'm trying to track down the location, but have had no joy as yet. A couple of leads, but nothing substantial.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


52.57175, 1.73361
TG 530 036
photos taken 25 October 2013

This is an RAF memorial, to the Number 24 Air Sea Rescue Unit, but it mentions two USAAF personnel who were killed during an ASR operation. It's on the harbour wall, at the mouth of the River Yare.

2nd Lieutenant James S. Mayall Jr, from California, was the Navigator. He was killed when his B17 ditched in the North Sea. He is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery.

Sergeant Donald S. Downie Jr, from Mississippi, was the Ball Turret Gunner. He was killed on the rescue launch when the it was strafed and sunk by enemy aircraft. He is buried in Cambridge.

Find the accident report here

Monday, 14 October 2013

Harling Farm

52.44418, 0.94592
TM 003 869
photos taken 11 October 2013

This is a private residence, so arrangements should be made with Mr Michael Brown to view the memorial. A C-109 (A B24 Liberator being used as a tanker) crashed shortly after takeoff from nearby Snetterton, or Old Buckenham. There's a question about that. The plane narrowly missed the farmhouse, and the crew was killed. A woman living in the farmhouse at the time saw the plane flying directly toward her before the pilot swerved. Years later, a ring was found on the property, inscribed "Yours Ever, Jenny Lee." The ring was handed over to American visitors to be returned to the family. Hopefully, that is what happened.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Bungay Community Centre (2)

52.45170, 1.43884
TM 337 893
photos taken 9 October 2013

The Town Reeve of Bungay very kindly met us at the Community Centre last night to let us in to take these pictures. Thank you to Richard Cundy.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Griston: Saint Peter & Saint Paul (2)

SS Peter & Paul Griston

52.55694, 0.86423
TL 942 993
photos taken 5 October 2013

What a special visit this was! I haven't been able to find photographs anywhere of the items inside this church, and it isn't easily accessible. I was finally able to make arrangements to get inside. Although I had been told that the photographs and flag that had been on display were now in storage, and not available for viewing, when we arrived, we were made very welcome, and were shown everything they had!

The Soldiers were very involved with this church, taking charge of arranging the flower each week, and they even had a choir that performed in Norwich Cathedral, among other places. Their organist was a local girl, Dorothy Parrott. Photographs show that services were so full, extra chairs had to be brought in.

This Covenant, headed "The Soldiers United Christian Church" seems to be unique to this church. I've never seen another, anyway. It is signed by over 100 servicemen, and speaks of helping each other in worship, study, witness and fellowship.

The Easter altar frontal, donated by the American servicemen.

The Christmas altar frontal

stitched to to back of the altar frontals

This flag flew over Watton Airfield. It was a gift to the people of Griston from the Americans.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Ditchingham Bricks

These photos were taken on the 22nd of August 2012. We had just heard that the Ditchingham Maltings were to be demolished, but that the bricks were to be saved due to the dedicated efforts of Huby Fairhead, Curator of the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum in Flixton. We sneaked on to the Ditchingham site and got our photos!

 But for Mr Fairhead's intevention, these bricks would have been lost in a pile of rubble. He received very little assistance from the "powers-that-be," and in the end had to slap them with a preservation order.

And these photos were taken at their new home in the musuem on the 11th of September 2013.

Saturday, 28 September 2013