A MEMORIAL to the dead aircrew of a crashed Second World War bomber has been restored thanks to the efforts of a party of Royal Air Force cadets, writes Mark Entwistle.
The simple wooden cross on a stone plinth was erected in memory of the four crew members of the twin-engined Handley Page Hampden, number L4063, after it crashed at Windy Rig, some 12 miles south-east of Yetholm, while returning from a night-time anti-shipping patrol in the North Sea in March 1940.
The names of Flying Officer Vivian Ayres, Pilot Officer Peter Addie, wireless operator/air gunner Leading Aircraftsman Allan Wallace and air gunner Flight Sergeant George Rowling, from 50 Squadron, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, are inscribed on the memorial.
Aged from just 19 to 26, the four airmen perished when the bomber hit high ground, causing its bomb load to explode.
Malfunctioning direction-finding equipment producing an inaccurate QDM (magnetic drift factor) is reported to have contributed to the accident.
But while nearly all traces of the crash have long since disappeared, the memorial originally erected by Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group still stands as a poignant reminder to the wartime sacrifice.
It was last refurbished nearly five years ago by a party from the RAF’s training centre at Cranwell.
But the harsh weather in the Cheviot Hills had since taken its toll and earlier this month another group of cadets from Cranwell made the long trek up into the hills to refurbish the cross.
The 10-strong party was led by Officer Cadet Sarah Vickers and it was accompanied by Newcastle hillwalkers, Sue Brophy and George Hardy, who had first contacted the RAF about the deteriorating condition of the memorial.
Prior to the Cheviot mission, OC Vickers told The Southern: “Sue had emailed us some photographs and information and we thought it would give us the opportunity for some extra training and to do something very worthwhile at the same time.”