Clitheroe teens honour airmen killed in Forest of Bowland crashes

Fields of Remembrance. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Fields of Remembrance. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A historical project to remember the airmen who died in aeroplane crashes during the Second World War over an area of the Forest of Bowland is being undertaken by local young people.

Members of the voluntary youth organisation, Clitheroe Youth Forum, will work on the project, “We Shall Remember Them”, over the next 18 months.

The aim of the project is to site a memorial dedicated to these airmen at Langden Brook in the heart of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

A total of 25 airmen from Britain, America, Canada and Poland died in 14 separate plane crashes during the Second World War in this area.

The Heritage Lottery have agreed to fund the project to the tune of £28,000.

Clitheroe Youth Forum leader Mel Diack MBE said: “Other smaller dedication stones will also be sited on public paths giving the names of those who died in those particular areas as so many of the actual crash sites are inaccessible and considered to be dangerous as well as protecting the wildlife in other areas.”

He added: “Youth members will research those who died as well those who survived and the actual crashes and if possible the reasons why.

“A remembrance book, braille book and film will be created.”

The types of planes that crashed over the Forest of Bowland countryside ranged from Lockheeds P-38Fs, North American Mustangs, Boulton Paul Defiants, Supermarine Spitfires, Douglas C-54G, Bristol Blenheim MKV and a Consolidated B-24J.

Help with the project has already come from a range of sources including United Utilities, the Forest of Bowland AONB, Lord Clitheroe the Hon T. Assheton, the North West Sound Archives, CVS, Lancashire Library heritage department and countryside services, Natural England, the Royal Air Force, plus aviation experts Nick Wotherspoon and Mark Gaskell.

The youth group would like to hear from anyone who has direct memories of these crashes or remember their families discussing these with them.

Anyone with information should please contact Mr Diack on 01254 823012.