Hereford & Worcester

Memorial for WWII bomber crash servicemen in Worcestershire

Memorial to the six soldiers Image copyright Highfield Farm
Image caption A plaque was unveiled in memory of the four servicemen who died and the two survivors of the crash

Relatives of four airmen who died when their plane crashed in a Worcestershire field during World War II have helped unveil a memorial to them.

The aircraft is believed to have had engine failure after a raid over Nazi-occupied France on 9 January 1942.

John Nash, who was also at the unveiling, witnessed the crash in Wythall as a school boy.

"It means a lot to me after all these years and it shows the men still haven't been forgotten," he said.

Image copyright Nash family
Image caption Mr Nash was getting ready for school at the time of the crash

Four of the six servicemen on board the Wellington bomber died when it hit a tree.

They were: Pilot Sgt Doug Butterworth, 20, from Rochdale in Greater Manchester; Sgt Brian Franklin, 21 from Gloucester; Sgt Charles Morrey, 20, from Barnsley in South Yorkshire; and pilot officer Bunny Burnham, from New Zealand.

Mr Burnham's relatives, who were at the tree planting and plaque unveiling ceremony described it as "emotional".

Image caption A plaque and a tree now mark where the crash happened

Mr Nash, now 87, still lives on the farm where the plane crashed. He said he was getting ready to go to school at the time.

"I heard a noise and saw a low-flying plane from the kitchen window. I thought it was that low it's going to crash," he said.

"It really was very frightening. It was a shock really, seeing it on the ground."

He said he believes the crew chose RAF Wythall for an emergency landing but did not realise it did not have a runway.

Warrant officer John Taylor, of RAF Cosford, said it was important to acknowledge the sacrifice the men had made.

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