WWII airmen honoured in poignant memorial

This photo shows the Clitheroe Youth Forum members together with the Air Cadets about to plant the saplings.
This photo shows the Clitheroe Youth Forum members together with the Air Cadets about to plant the saplings.

Cold biting rain swept across Langden Brook and Holdron Castle as three allied airmen who crashed in the Forest of Bowland during the Second World War were honoured.

Whalley stalwart and Clitheroe Youth Forum chairman Mel Diack MBE planned a series of dedication services to remember these and other airmen who lost their lives in aircraft crashes in the Trough and the Ribble Valley.

The service was preceded by the planting of oak tree saplings provided by landowner United Utilities. The saplings were planted by young people from the Clitheroe Youth Forum and air cadets from 143 (Longridge) Squadron – one for each airman who lost their life in the area.

A Service of Remembrance followed conducted by the Rev. Canon Norman Atty. A stone carved by Thomas Rock stonemasons was unveiled showing the names of three of the airmen lost – Pilot Officer J. Sharp RAF, Flying Officer W. Pucek Polish Air Force and Flying Officer S. P. Marlatt Royal Canadian Air Force. Standard bearers Stewart Dagger from the Royal Air Force Association and Cadet W/O Jack Stirling 143 (Longridge) Squadron were in attendance. The Last Post and Reveille was played by Janet Clegg from the Longridge Band and a two minutes silence was observed.

At the end of the service all present retired to Puddleducks Café in Dunsop Bridge for well-earned hot drinks and refreshments.

This was the first of several dedication services planned to remember the 25 airmen who died in crashes in the Ribble Valley and Trough of Bowland. A memorial boulder is to be placed next to Langdon Brook giving the names of all of these airmen. The project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery and further information can be found by visiting the Ribble Valley Remembrance website at www.rvremembrance.info.

Clitheroe Youth Forum members together with the Air Cadets about to plant the saplings. (s)