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Post Info TOPIC: Halifax II JB863 Memorial Ceremony at Fulford Golf Club

Halifax II JB863 Memorial Ceremony at Fulford Golf Club

Report in York Press

Tribute to RAFs doomed bomber

4:10pm Saturday 13th September 2008

By Richard Harris »

THEY died so that Britain would remain free.

These were the stirring words behind a wreath-laying ceremony yesterday in memory of the crew of a Halifax bomber that crashed at Fulford Golf Club more than 60 years ago.

The golf club is normally a picture of serenity, but on the night of June 19, 1943, at the height of the Second World War, the silence was broken as members of an RAF Halifax bomber crew fought to safely land their stricken aircraft.

Sadly they were unsuccessful and all seven men on board died.

A plaque now marks the sport where they lost their lives and yesterday members of the RAF Association (RAFA) laid a wreath at the site in memory of those who died so that Britain would remain free.

Ken Whitfield, of the York branch of RAFA, said: Its important that we remember those who gave their lives in defence of this country during the Second World War and who also defended the freedom of the rest of the world.

The Halifax was part of 77 Squadron which was based at RAF Elvingon which is now home to the Yorkshire Air Museum.

On the night in question, the crew had taken off with a view to bombing an armament factory and steelworks in occupied France.

But, shortly after it had got into the air, the engine failed so the pilot headed for the golf course hoping to land there. But the planes flaps were stuck and the Halifax descended too rapidly, crashing on the fairway. The airmen may still have survived but as they had only just set off on their mission the plane was laden with bombs. Shortly after crashing one of these exploded and the plane was destroyed.

The crash was witnessed by a 15-year-old John Pearcy who lives in Bishopthorpe and is now a social member of Fulford Golf Club. With some friends he ran to see if they could help but it was too late.

When the memorial was unveiled he said: To be honest, at that age we didnt really have any thoughts about it. But today, at the service, it made me think we are still involved in wars where people still sacrifice their young lives.

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