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US memorials move taken a step further

Greenham Parish Council backs relocation to control tower

THE last service at memorials remembering American servicemen who died in the Second World War will be held next week, as support for a project to move them grows.

As reported in the last week, the three memorials could be moved from Greenham Business Park to the Control Tower.

Thirty-one paratroopers and two pilots from the 17th Airborne Division were killed when their Horsa glider crashed shortly after take-off from the Greenham airbase on December 12, 1944.

Three days later, 16 men were killed when two B-17 Flying Fortresses from the 306th bombardment group collided above Greenham Common.

Two memorial stones remembering the events, plus a third dedicated to all US servicemen who died in the war, stand at the business park.

The move follows Newbury’s Royal British Legion branch secretary Keith Williams noting that Americans visiting the tower were unaware of the memorials’ existence.

Greenham Parish Council’s planning and highways committee supported the move at a meeting last week and has agreed in principle to assist the Legion with the proposal.

The parish council owns the control tower and leases the management of the Cold War relic to Greenham Control Tower Ltd.

After the meeting, committee chairman Tony Vickers said: “We are all on the same page and very enthusiastic about this project, which ought to easily be complete by next autumn.

“We will recommend that the parish council acts as the applicant for the whole project.

“It will include the creation of a memorial garden on the south side of the tower, with the memorial stones against the south fence.

“GCTL were already considering how to landscape the land around the tower.”

The parish council will discuss the project’s next steps at its meeting on Wednesday, December 12 – the day of the memorial service at Greenham Business Park.

Dr Vickers said that parish councils are charged only half the normal fees by West Berkshire Council, which would amount to an approximate £200 contribution at no cost to Greenham taxpayers.

He said that the Legion would raise the funds to move the memorials and for their installation at the control tower.

It would also pay all professional fees incurred by the parish council, apart from the application fee.

Support for the project has also come from the Greenham Trust.

Planning permission and £3,000 funding are needed to press ahead with the project.

Those wishing to donate or help with the project can email Mr Williams at rblnewburybranchsecretary@gmail.com or call 07785 701721.

The memorials were unveiled and dedicated by Princess Anne in 2012, funded and organised by the Legion and trust.

A service remembering the events is held each year at noon on December 12.

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