Memorials honouring ten airmen who died after their planes crashed near Princes Risborough during the Second World War will be officially dedicated today.
The men from the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force were involved in three different flights and died as they bravely diverted their ailing aircrafts away from the town to avoid civilian casualties.
At Sunday’s ceremony an honour guard from the RAF, USAF, Royal Air Force Association and the Royal British Legion will lead a procession including local dignitaries and members of the airmen’s families.
They will leave from the war memorial in the Market Square at 2.45pm to the site of the memorials at the top of the High Street outside the local branch library, where the dedication will be carried out. The airmen’s family members and others will be encouraged to place tokens, provided by the Royal British Legion, at the memorials and the Last Post, Reveille and US Taps will be played during the ceremony. Afterwards, invited guests will be entertained to a traditional English afternoon tea at the Princes Centre.
It has taken three years to get to this point. The town council says it is proud that the people of Risborough are now able to pay their proper respects to the airmen.
The memorials will have QR codes on them which can be scanned on a smart phone and link to a webpage giving more information about the three crashes.
The first aircraft crashed during a night training flight at Longdown Farm near the town on January 30 1943 killing four RAF crewmen.
The second aircraft, an RAF Spitfire, crashed after clipping trees at Green Hailey on December 17 later that same year, killing the RAF pilot. And the third aircraft crashed at the top of Kop Hill near Princes Risborough on October 21 1944 killing all five USAF aircrew members.
The pilot managed to steer the damaged craft away from built-up areas before crashing.