Forest memorial to Halifax bomber crew rededicated

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Earlier this month, the memorial at Craik Forest to the crew of a Halifax bomber that crashed there in 1944, was rededicated.

The plaque on the memorial wall, illustrated with engravings of a Handley Page Halifax, records how the aircraft, which was on a night navigation exercise from its base near Doncaster in Yorkshire, flew into high ground at 11.30pm on April 1, 1944.

The plaque also records the names of the eight crew, all of whom perished.

They were: Flying Officer Ronald Ross, Sgt Harold Simpson, Flying Officer John Birkett, Sgt Cyril Farthing, Sgt Peter Burchell, Sgt John Hinder, Sgt Brian Bell and Sgt Herbert Smith.

The memorial was originally erected on the 50th anniversary of the crash on April 1, 1994, by Nos 2463 (Currie & Balerno) Sqn; 1007 (Duns) Sqn, Air Training Corps and the Forestry Commission .

In volume eight of the Royal Air Force’s records of Bomber Command’s losses for heavy conversion units during the war, it tells how the Halifax flew into high ground in the vicinity of Muckle Knowe.

As the bomber struck the hillside, the night sky was illuminated by flames, with debris scattered over a wide area. The remains of the crew were interred in cemeteries across England.