Memorial to pilots unveiled
A Berwickshire bridge was the site of a moving ceremony this week, in memory of two World War Two pilots who lost their lives in 1943.
On January 4 in that year, a Beaufighter T3058 took off from RAF Winfield on a training flight, with its pilot Sergeant Robert Norwood and navigator, Sergeant Irvine Jackson.
Engine failure meant that their plane crashed near Hutton Mill Bridge - tragically killing them both.
This week, their descendants gathered, along with Bob Bertram, MBE, branch chairman of the Royal Air Forces Association, to unveil a plaque near the bridge commemorating both men.
David Geddes, nephew of Sgt. Robert Norwood, gave an address describing the fifteen years of research it took toe get the plaque mounted.
“The only information we obtained from the family on the death of my uncle Bobby was he had crashed flying a Beaufighter in Scotland,” he said.
“We were able to obtain his RAF service record, which gave us details from his date of enlistment, January 1941, until his death in January 1943. From this we learned that he volunteered and was accepted for pilot training. His application showed a birth date of August 23, 1922, though he was, in fact, born in September 1923, so he was only 17 years and four months old.
“His initial pilot selection as at Biggin Hill where he passed the assessment for pilot training after 12 hours on a Tiger Moth.
“We know that following his selection he was sent to the United States under the Arnold Scheme for his training.
“Bobby successfully completed the course, having gone through primary, basic and multi-engine training, gaining his coveted RAF wings as a pilot on March 7, 1942.
“He was posted back to the UK and in October 1942 he was posted too 54 Out at RAF Charterhall with a satellite airfield at RAF Winfield.
“At Charterhall he teamed up with Sgt. Jackson as his radar operator. They would have completed their training some two weeks after the accident and been posted to one of the night fighter squadron in the UK.
“Adjacent to Charterhall airfield there is a memorial to Charterhall crews as part of the Richard Hilary memorial.
“As we recently learned exactly where Beaufighter T3038 crashed, we feel now is the right time to commemorate the short lives of Bobby and Irvine.”
Also attending was Alex Brodie, now of Haddington, who remembers seeing the plane come down as a child.
“I had nightmare about it for a long time,” he said, “I remember plain as day seeing the plane come down, from EddingtonMains, where I was living then, and of course, being boys, we ran and followed it. We were only ten at the time.”