North Yorkshire village unveils memorial to bomber crew

Brafferton memorial The memorial carries the names of the seven men killed in the crash

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A memorial has been built in tribute to the crew of a Halifax bomber shot down over a North Yorkshire village.

Halifax NA612 was returning to its base at RAF Dishforth in the early hours of 4 March 1945 when it was attacked by a German night fighter.

All seven crew, six Royal Canadian Air Force men and one from the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, were killed.

A stone memorial to the men has been erected in Brafferton, near Thirsk, close to the scene of the crash.

Roger Clements, clerk of Brafferton Parish Council, said: "We are recognising the effort that all of Bomber Command put in to conducting their part of World War II and, specifically, the Canadian crew that were in the Halifax that crashed near us."

'Fly past'

Bomber Command

AVRO Lancaster Bomber
  • Unit formed in 1936. During the war it was tasked with attacking Germany's airbases, troops, shipping and industry.
  • A total of 55,573 of its airmen died in World War II. Their average age was about 22
  • The first "thousand-bomber raid" was in May 1942, three months after Arthur "Bomber" Harris was made commander in chief
  • The famous Dambusters raid of May 1943 struck at dams surrounding the Ruhr Valley

Source: BBC History

Villagers from Brafferton and Helperby gathered outside St Peter's church, Brafferton, where a representative of the Canadian Air Force unveiled the tribute.

The sister of 21-year-old flight engineer Sergeant Sidney Forster's family, the RAF volunteer killed alongside his six Canadian colleagues, was at the dedication.

A Lancaster Bomber made a fly past during the ceremony.

Halifax NA612 was part of the Canadian 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit based at RAF Dishforth.

It was part of a diversionary force tasked with confusing German commanders about intended targets.

The plane was returning to its base when it was shot down.

More than 55,000 Bomber Command aircrew were killed during Word War II, including 9,919 from Canada.

In February the Ministry of Defence announced it would recognise those who flew at least one operational mission over Germany and France for Bomber Command with a specially designed clasp.

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