Plaque unveiled at crash site

A memorial service was held at St Mary the Virgin Church in Edith Weston on Friday 4 March 2016 to remember the three Australian and five British aircrew who died when Lancaster B Mk III PD 431 crashed into Edith Weston Village on 4 March 1945. EMN-160703-132101001

A memorial service was held at St Mary the Virgin Church in Edith Weston on Friday 4 March 2016 to remember the three Australian and five British aircrew who died when Lancaster B Mk III PD 431 crashed into Edith Weston Village on 4 March 1945. EMN-160703-132101001

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A plaque has been unveiled during a memorial service to mark 71 years since a Lancaster bomber crashed into the village of Edith Weston.

On March 4, 1945, the plane crashed into the village, killing five British and three Australian aircrew onboard.

The plane had taken off from RAF North Luffenham at 11.30am for a cross country training flight. It returned to base at 4pm for a landing on runway 36, but bounced heavily on landing.

Power was increased as it prepared to go around to attempt to land again, but as it climbed away its wheels hit a NAAFI wagon waiting on the runway, and the aircraft flew into the top of nearby trees and crashed into the village.

The aircraft finally came to rest adjacent to the church which was undamaged.

All of the crew died, seven on impact and one the following day in hospital.

On Friday last week - the 71st anniversary of the tragedy - a plaque was unveiled on the churchyard wall close to where the plane came to 
rest.

A memorial service was conducted by the Rev John Taylor and the Rev Brian Nicholls and was attended by dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard and Rutland county councillor Gale Waller.

Military dignitaries included Group Capt Paul Nicolas, from the Australian Defence Staff in London, Cdr Neil Bing, Officer Commanding Flying at RAF Wittering and Major Jack Kemp, from St George’s Barracks.

Villagers, including some of those who saw the wreckage, were also in attendance.

At 4pm the Last Post was sounded. A minute’s silence was observed as the Standards of the Rutland Royal British Legion and the Rutland RAF Association were lowered.

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