Geograph Blog ::

9th September 1944

By Bill Nicholls

On that day two airmen lost their lives when a Halifax Bomber returning from a raid crashed just outside Wallingford narrowly missing the town. It was thought they managed to steer the plane away to save the town. Two roads in the town are named after them and each year a service is held in their honour at the memorial by the two roads SU5990 : Wreaths round the Memorial by Bill Nicholls. I thought it was time to look into the story a bit more.
This starts with my trip to Wales where I found out the Flight Engineer Sergeant Andrews was buried in Kerry cemetery so I paid a visit while down there to get a photo SO1490 : Sgt F/E J F Andrew by Bill Nicholls. It was a bit of a surprise not to see the normal Commonwealth type but a normal headstone but no doubt that was what the family wanted.
On my return back I live I dropped into Wallingford and walked along the River Thames to see if I could locate the crash site SU6189 : Looking for the crash site by Bill Nicholls and thought I had a good idea but have since changed my mind and will post my findings later. From there I went up to the memorial and the service SU5990 : The service starts by Bill Nicholls being held on the corner of Wilding and Andrew Road which were named after the pilot and flight engineer. There were more people than I thought would have been there including a relation of J F Wilding the pilot SU5990 : Start of the ceremony by Bill Nicholls. The service was respectful and well done, SU5990 : Saluting the brave by Bill Nicholls SU5990 : Salute from the RAF by Bill Nicholls only let down by some idiot who drove up before the start and managed to get past only to turn round at the end of Wilding road and find himself trapped as the service had started. He complained he wanted to get past and was hurling all sorts of abuse upsetting some of the older people there. He eventually got past when the service ended narrowly missing the Flag Party SU5990 : Speech to the Cubs by Bill Nicholls. The matter was reported to the police. It was good to see that Andrew and Wliding have not been forgotten and that they are remembered each year and that the Canadian Flag flies in honour over Wallingford Town Hall on the Sunday nearest the fateful day SU6089 : Canadian flag on the Town Hall by Bill Nicholls SU9456 : Flying Officer J.A. Wilding DFC by Bill Nicholls. I Managed to get down to Brookwood for a photo of J.F.Wildings grave and found the experiance of going back to a rather humbling expriance after seeing all the graves there.
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Fri, 14 Sep 2012 at 10:08
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