Cadets raise £2,000 for WW2 bomber memorial after spotting graves at church

28 Sep 2022

A memorial to honour the crew of a WW2 Wellington bomber has been unveiled in Suffolk thanks to 1331 (Stowmarket) Squadron. 

The squadron raised £2,000 for the memorial after spotting five graves at Ringshall church with the same date during a project for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 

They connected them to the crash of a Wellington Bomber from 99 Squadron RAF on 29 September 1941, the site of which was, coincidentally also on the route of the graves walk organised by CI Paul Thompson. 

Cadet Sergeant Oscar Gould said: “When we discovered the five graves together we knew we had to do something more permanent. It is awesome to now see what we planned being achieved.” 

CI Thompson added: “As time goes by there is a risk that history is forgotten, this will be here for hundreds of years. People who walk these paths will see it and be able to remember those that fought for them in the Second World War.” 

1331 Sqn Commanding Officer Flt Lt Paula Houghton said she had never been prouder of the Squadron. “This is a lasting memorial to a brave crew sadly lost in the defence of our country,” she said. 

“We hope to keep our links to 99 Squadron for years to come and will be organising an annual Act of Remembrance at the memorial." 

The cadets had done a 20-mile sponsored walk to raise money for the memorial, which was unveiled by two members of the current 99 Squadron from RAF Brize Norton on Saturday 24 September. 

1331 Squadron also welcomed the Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association and Royal Air Force Association standards, landowner Mr Peter Bull, Gt Finborough parish councillors and guest of honour Mr Ron Hines, a local man who witnessed the plane coming down and, as a 7-year-old in 1941, went out to explore the wreckage the day after the crash.   

By James Miles 

Central and East Region Media and Communication Officer 

BBC coverage of the event

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