Cornwall

Beagle Point helicopter crash memorial restored

Wooden cross at Beagle Point. Pic: Royal Navy Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption The wooden cross was uprooted from Beagle Point and thought to have been thrown down a slope

A memorial to remember a helicopter crew killed in a crash in Cornwall has been restored.

The wooden cross remembers a crash in 1974 when a Sea King helicopter from RNAS Culdrose came down near the top of a cliff on the Lizard and burst into flames, killing all four on board.

The 45-year-old memorial has been put back in place after being uprooted from Beagle Point.

The Royal Navy said the site has also had an engraved plaque added.

The four airmen - all in their 20s - died when their aircraft crashed on 21 March 1974.

Newspaper reports at the time said eyewitnesses saw it crash and burst into flames after it suffered apparent engine trouble.

Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption The memorial has had an engraved plaque added

The crew on board, serving with 824 Naval Air Squadron, included:

  • Pilot Captain Kenneth McDonald, 25, on exchange from the Royal Canadian Navy
  • Sub-Lieutenant Robert Johnson, 24, from Edinburgh
  • Sub-Lieutenant Edward Wild, 22, from London
  • Leading Seaman Brian Sharpe, 27, from Peterborough

The idea of restoring the memorial was one of the last acts by recently retired Chief Petty Officer John "Soups" Campbell, who lives at Coverack, after the cross was disappeared from its original placement "within the last couple months".

Mr Campbell said a staff member from the National Trust retrieved the cross from the steep cliff face after it was pulled up and thrown down a slope.

He added: "It's really important to me that this cross is put back in place. This is a piece of Culdrose history and we should remember those who died."

RNAS Culdrose, which is near Helston, is one of the largest helicopter bases in Europe.

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