In December a special flypast took place to salute airmen who lost their lives on the Cheviot Hills, Northumberland, during World War Two.
A memorial was originally dedicated by the Duke of Gloucester on May 19, 1995, but over the years it had deteriorated badly. In 2018, as part of events in Northumberland to mark the RAF’s centenary, a granite replacement was erected. The Duke returned to attend its unveiling and rededication. Unlike the original, the new memorial includes the names of two German crews who perished in the area among a total of 19 aircraft crashes commemorated.
One of the most significant losses occurred at 13:15hrs on December 16, 1944 when a Boeing B-17G from Molesworth failed to clear the summit of Cheviot in a blizzard. Two crew members died and others were seriously injured. Thanks to the heroism and persistence of two local shepherds, John Dagg and Frank Moscrop, all were found despite the dreadful conditions and were brought to safety. For their bravery, Dagg and Moscrop were later awarded the British Empire Medal and John Dagg’s dog, Sheila, the Dickin Medal, the so-called animal VC.
At precisely 13:15hrs on December 16, 2019 - 75 years to the minute after the B-17 crash - two aircraft of the 352nd Special Operations Wing from RAF Mildenhall flew over the memorial and the crash site in salute. The Lockheed MC-130J Hercules and CV-22B Osprey were watched by around 50 local residents. The event was organised by AVM Sandy Hunter and Sqn Ldr Chrys Murphy, who both have connections to the area. WITH THANKS TO SANDY HUNTER