Memorial Plaque -Guildhall - Much Wenlock (Wallace Hayward's name is listed on the left hand-side, 4th from the top)
- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Wallace HAYWARD (American Pilot); Mavis HAYWARD, Vera Hayward HULL, Iris Hayward PERRY (sisters) Carl PERRY (brother-in-law); Derrick Hill (Much Wenlock farmer); Mary HILL (wife of Derrick Hill)
- Location of story:
- Much Wenlock, Shropshire
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 17 December 2005
In the spring of 1944, Wallace Hayward, an American pilot died when his plane - a Lockheed Lighting - crashed into a field behind the Lady Forester Hospital, Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
I was ploughing in the next field and I saw the crash and the aeroplane burst into flames. Although I was quite close I did not approach the plane because I was worried that it may have bombs, or live ammunition on board and that it would blow up. Fortunately there was neither bombs nor ammunition on the plane. The pilot baled out, but his parachute failed to open and he fell to his death some distance from the plane. In a very short time a fire engine and an ambulance appeared on the scene together with Doctor Bigley, the local doctor, who certified that Wallace was dead. I understood that Wallace who was based in Oxfordshire had been on a photographic mission over Germany. The crashed plane remained in the field for three or four days and was guarded by American soldiers.
The field where the plane crashed is farmed by my family so when Wallace's sisters and brother-in-law visited Much Wenlock on the occassion of the official unveiling of the memorial plaque - to all those servicemen from overseas who had died in the Parish - in the Guildhall in Much Wenlock; both my wife and I were introduced to the family by George Matthews, the then Town Clerk. We took them to the site of the crash, it was a very sad occasion, but our families became very friendly and maintained contact firstly by correspondence and then by visiting each others homes.
Carl Perry was Professor of Music at the University of Knoxville, Tennessee and when he retired he joind a Travel Agency and organised trips to various parts of the world. Mary and I visited Greece and Italy with Carl and his wife on the two occassions he organised trips to Europe.
Whenever I see the plaque in the Guildhall it brings back sad memories but it also goes to show what a small world it is and how an unexpected meeting can play such a big part in one's life over the years.
In 2004 Arthur, my elder son, planted a tree on the site of the crash and enclosed it with a fence. Vera Hull died in 2005, age 90 years
Story: This story has been submitted to the People's War site by Muriel Palmer (volunteer) Age Concern Shropshire Telford & Wrekin on behalf of D.N. HILL (author) with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
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