Cambridgeshire

Spitfire crash pilot discovery: Permanent memorial unveiled

The Spitfire Mk 1A and Pilot Officer Harold Penketh Image copyright Aviva Group Archive
Image caption Pilot Officer Harold Penketh died when his Spitfire Mk 1A crashed on a routine training exercise

A permanent memorial to a Spitfire pilot, who died when his plane crashed almost 76 years ago, has been unveiled.

A fragment of bone belonging to RAF Pilot Officer Harold Penketh was found when the aircraft was excavated in Cambridgeshire last October.

The rest of his body was recovered shortly after the Spitfire crashed during a training exercise in 1940.

A plaque and information board were unveiled on Thursday at a short service near to the crash site at Holme Lode.

Image caption The service was attended by members of the Penketh family and those who took part in the excavation

Pilot Officer Penketh, aged 20, broke formation and entered a dive during a routine training flight with two other Spitfires on 22 November, 1940.

He did not use his parachute and was killed when the aircraft struck the ground vertically.

Recovered and restored remains of the plane are now at RAF Wyton Pathfinder Museum.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A week-long excavation at the crash site revealed parts of the plane and personal effects

Officer Penketh's remains were cremated at Woodvale Crematorium in Brighton and the ashes interred in Hove last November.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was mirroring the wishes of Pilot Officer Penketh's parents, who lived in Brighton when he was killed.

Image caption A service was held at Woodvale Crematorium before the ashes were interred at St Peter's Church
Image copyright Oxford Archaeology East
Image caption The propeller was removed on day five of the dig, as the excavation got down to the base of the crater left behind by the Spitfire crash

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