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Thread: CLIFFE - Stirling (W7628) Memorial

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    Default CLIFFE - Stirling (W7628) Memorial

    Couple of photos of the memorial in Cliffe churchyard to the crew of Stirling W7628 and a resident of Cliffe who were killed when the aircraft crashed on 24 October 1942.

    Photos taken 30 April 2010


    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 24-12-2012 at 10:19.

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    This memorial shows the details of my great uncle Douglas Bowden, do you have any further details ?

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Hi Sharon

    I don't have much on this crash, others may have more information. I wouldn't mind finding out more myself

    Richard

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Re incident 24 October 1942, the aircraft was based at Lakenheath, a Stirling I. My guess is that it was returning from a raid on Genoa.

    There is an amendment (on the web) to the Bomber Command Losses book VOLUME 3 1942. (the book itself is not on the web)

    1942/248 149/W7628 Amend P/O F K Randall to read F/O F K Randall: Delete 0300 and insert 0215.
    Continue summary: Aware that the crew were in difficulties, a local searchlight battery switched on its lights directing the beams towards nearby marshes, but to no avail. At least two cottages bore the brunt of the impact; Miss Delia Batchelor woke to find pieces from her bedroom ceiling on her bed and was then shocked to discover that the outside wall of the room had disappeared. Already, local inhabitants were trying to help but for Mrs Lilian May McPherson, just 21 and the mother of a two-month old baby girl, Diana, it was already too late. Taken from what was left of 3 Rye Street Cottages, to an army medical facility at Cooling Castle she was pronounced dead soon after being admitted. Miraculously, her little girl was found in an alcove, still in her crib, and completely unscathed. Both Canadians were taken to Brookwood Military Cemetery, as was Sgt Blake, their four companions being claimed by their next of kin.
    Note. As at 2008, plans are afoot to place a memorial to the crew and Mrs McPherson in Cliffe churchyard. [Medway Messenger via John Reid, 13/11/08]


    I also came across this article in The Mildenhall Register (15, 90, 149 and 622 Bomber Squadrons’ Association) Newsletter – winter 2005

    A Dedication and Unveiling of a Memorial Stone in Memory of Those Killed in The Crash of a Bomber in a Kentish Village

    On October 24th 1942 the Short Stirling W7628 coded OJ-B based at Lakenheath ran out of fuel after the long arduous haul to Italy over the Alps, where Bomber Command had been called upon to attack Nothern Italian ports in support of the Allied Landings on North Africa - Operation Torch. The aircraft hit a cottage and adjacent farmhouse only a few yards from the wide open flat fields and marshes of the Thames Estuary north of Rochester. All the crew lost their lives as well as a young mother of a 10-day-old baby in the house. The young baby survived and was present at the Dedication together with a lady from the farm who was a young girl at the time of the tragedy.

    A notice in a local newspaper seeking anyone who might know of any relatives, or even knew of the crew who had lived in the borough at that time brought the matter to the writer's attention together with a notice in the Squadron Association Newsletter, prompted me to attend the Service informally representing the Squadron and in my mind the Bomber Command Association.

    The village of Cliffe is accessed via spur roads, now upgraded in recent years off the M2, becoming a normal country road for a few miles until corning, with some relief, to a quite impressive village sign announcing ‘This is Cliffe’. All to do now was to spot the church.

    Ah, a road sign says Church Road, so must be on track. Quite some way following this narrow road, Cliffe is quite a big spread out village and the map had told me there is no road beyond. Relief - there is the church right in front. St. Helen's is quite a big church standing atop a slight rise beyond which there is nothing other than absolutely flat pasture land and marshes, a few sparse lines of small trees and bushes stretch away to the faint ribbon of the Thames in the far distance, then the rising ground of Essex on the skyline.

    The lads and girls of 213 Squadron ATC from Rochester have formed a "Guard of Honour" at the entrance together with the standards including RAFA and British Legion.

    This large church became packed with young and old who carne to support the Dedication and I managed to sort out Mr and Mrs Kingman the Principle Organisers to thank them for all that had been done by the many people for this day, exactly 62 years from the date of the crash. After the moving service, during which the Standards were offered to the altar, we assembled in a quiet corner of a grassed area where the Memorial Stone stood set behind an old low brick wall under the limbs of a old mature tree and draped with an Ensign for the Blessing and Unveiling by two ladies, both survivors of the day, one being the baby and the other the girl from the farm.

    It is sad that no next-of-kin or relative could be traced of any of the crew, as far as I know. Pilot that day was F/S Siwak of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as was another of his crew.

    PJ Rowland

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Thank you to you both for taking the time to reply. The additional news is so interesting, Douglas is buried with my grandfather in Bournemouth in an raf grave and my uncle is named Douglas Bowden after him. I was always told stories about him and I no longer have anyone to ask the questions I wanted to know. I am most grateful. I am going to continue my research and hope to make contact with the lady who was the baby at Cliffe and pay my respects to the memorial. I am hoping to also find out more about Douglas' raf career and to maybe obtain further info from the raf. If you have any ideas I would love to hear further from you. I

    Many thanks. SHARON

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    You may like to know a little about two of the men who flew with your uncle

    From the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum book

    FS Siwak from Angusville Manitoba, can find no record of a village war memorial in this small community
    SGT Barnard from Brooklyn New York, not clear if he was a US citezen who came north to jion the RCAF before the US entered the war.

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Hi, I am new to this site!!! I was one of number of local residents who raised funds for this memorial. I do have photos of the crew and the crashed plane- which came down approx 1 mile from where I now live. I also have photos of graves of all but one of the crew.Just small point the civilian killed actually died in St Barts Hospital Rochester- not at Cooling , she died next day from shock.

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    thanks Paul and yes i would love to hear more from you !! kind regards Sharon

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Hi Paul,

    I'm new to the list. I would also be really interested in the photos that you have. My Gr. Uncle was Frank Kinder Randall. Best Regards

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    Default Re: Cliffe - Stirling W7628 Memorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbi View Post
    Hi Paul,

    I'm new to the list. I would also be really interested in the photos that you have. My Gr. Uncle was Frank Kinder Randall. Best Regards
    Hi Snowbi as you can see from thread my great uncle was Douglas Bowden ? Do you have any photos of you great uncle? Or any other information ? Nice to hear that you have joined forum it seems like fate that are both on this site. Sharon

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