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Newbury honours US airmen killed in 1944 crashes at Greenham Common





Torrential rain did not stop Newburians from honouring the fallen.

Military personnel, civic dignitaries and Control Tower volunteers gathered at Greenham Common on Tuesday, December 12, to pay their respects to the 49 US airmen killed in two aircraft accidents in 1944.

The Rev Keri Eynon led the service with hymns, readings and blessings.

Lowering standards by Control Tower memorials
Lowering standards by Control Tower memorials

The Exhortation and Last Post were recited and sounded and followed by a two minute silence.

Wreaths were then laid by representatives of RAF Welford, the Royal Air Force, the West Berkshire Parachute Regimental Association, Newbury Royal British Legion, West Berkshire Council, Greenham Parish Council and the mayors of Newbury and Thatcham, Nigel Foot and Mark Lillycrop.

Newbury RBL members walking to lay wreaths
Newbury RBL members walking to lay wreaths
Honour guard salute
Honour guard salute
Newbury and Thatcham mayors Nigel Foot and Mark Lillycrop
Newbury and Thatcham mayors Nigel Foot and Mark Lillycrop
RAF Welford representatives salute at the memorials
RAF Welford representatives salute at the memorials

Newbury resident Allan Mercardo also laid a rose on behalf of a relative of one of the airmen who died.

The congregation also sang the US and British national anthems.

The service remembers 31 US paratroopers and two pilots who, on December 12, 1944, perished during a training exercise when their British-made Horsa Glider crashed shortly after take-off.

Lowering the standards
Lowering the standards
Rev Keri Eynon leads memorial service
Rev Keri Eynon leads memorial service
Guests gather to pay their respects
Guests gather to pay their respects
Honour guard
Honour guard
Honour guard
Honour guard
Honour guard
Honour guard
Service to remember those killed in the glider and B-17 crashes at Greenham Common in 1944
Service to remember those killed in the glider and B-17 crashes at Greenham Common in 1944

And just three days later, two B-17 Flying Fortress Bombers collided over the Common — killing 16 US airmen.

The first memorial was erected in the early 1990s but was later moved to a different position at Greenham Business Park.

Princess Anne officially dedicated the memorials for both accidents in 2012.

The memorial then moved to the Control Tower in 2019, where it stands today.



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