Remembering the lives of fallen RAF crew in village

Tadmarton RAF service
Tadmarton RAF service

A memorial dedicated to a crew of seven RAF pilots who lost their lives in a crash during the Second World War has been unveiled in Tadmarton.

The crew, led by Flying Officer Donald Arthur Driver, 20, set off from RAF Chipping Warden at about 10.05am on May 31, 1944 to carry out a fighter affiliation exercise.

Following an evasive diving turn, their Wellington aircraft crashed into a field opposite Brooklands, killing Mr Driver and six air gunners on board.

A short service was held on Saturday near the crash site to commemorate the event 70 years on and dedicate a memorial which listed the names of the crew. They were FO Driver, Flight Sergeant Eric Cotterell, 24, Flight Sergeant James Mcgregor, 29, Sergeant Ernest Walter Blackman, 24, Sergeant John Alexander Oliver, 19, Sergeant Frederick John Pack, 22 and Sergeant Joseph Henry Nixon, 30.

Steve Kingsford, who organised the event on behalf of Tadmarton Parish Council, said: “It was a moving and poignant occasion and I was delighted to see so many attend. I would like to thank all those who came along and helped with the event.

“Those who lost their lives that day were among the many casualties of the intense training programme to provide aircrew for Bomber Command.

“Bomber Command at long last has a memorial to its sacrifices and now Tadmarton has its own modest memorial to the seven young men, whose hopes and aspirations ended in an English country field.”

The special guests on the day were Rosemary and George Marshall, who had travelled from the United States for the event.

Rosemary was the daughter of Sgt Blackman and was only six-months-old when her father died.