Friday, June 02, 2023

A Desborough memorial to wartime bomber crew

This memorial. which remembers three Wellington bomber crew who lost their lives in a wartime training flight from RAF Desborough, can be found among new housing in the town.

The Northamptonshire Telegraph reported when it was unveiled in the town last autumn:

Pilot officer Reg Byrne, 23, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve (RAFVR) members Sgt Bill Barnett, 32, and Sgt Eddie Brisbourne,19, all died when their Wellington Bomber failed on September 5 in 1944.

The plane with six crew aboard crashed into a paddock on Feakin's Farm in Harrington Road, now a housing estate off Green Lane.

Two members of Desborough Civic Society, Steve Richards and Mike Maguire, negotiated for an area of a new housing estate to be used to remember the three casualties. The memorial also remembers all who served at the nearby Bomber Command airfield.

The paper described the unveiling ceremony:

Led by Rev Canon Neil Clarke, chaplain to Desborough Royal British Legion, more than 50 people joined in the service including a reading of The Kohima Epitaph, a two-minutes’ silence and the laying of wreaths.

Squadron Leader Luke Ridgway of the RAAF, who placed a poppy wreath, said: "I'm really humbled to attend on behalf of the Australian Government and the RAAF. It was a beautiful ceremony. I wasn’t expecting so many people - it’s the true British spirit."

85-year-old Jean Jones, Sgt Eddie Brisbourne’s sister was proud of her "lovely" brother and placed a wreath at the newly-unveiled memorial bearing his name.

I discovered RAF Desborough on an unseasonably warm April day 12 years ago.

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