On Sunday 21st August 2022, The Royal British Legion, Chipping Norton held a service of Remembrance to mark the 8oth Anniversary of the mid-air collision over the town in 1942.

We were delighted to welcome Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Mr Ron Spurs, the families of Pilot Officer Ian Henderson, pilot of the Wellington and of Sergeant Stanley Downs, pilot of the Oxford to the event. Members of the Legion branch, Town Councillors, Reverend Victor Story and Pilot Officer McCann and cadets from 136 (Chipping Norton) Squadron were also present. The commemoration started with the raising of the RAF Ensign on the town's flagpole.

After this we proceeded to the Town War Memorial for the main part of the service. Steve Kingsford, Branch Chairman related the story of the crash then Ron Spurs read out the names of the 8 Aircrew who lost their lives that fateful day

Cadet Williams from the ATC read the poem "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, a Canadian Pilot, who also died in a mid-air collision in 1941. Two days before the crash, the town lost Private Cyril Barrett of 3 Commando who was killed in action in the Dieppe Raid, the chairman told his story.

After prayers, the ode, last post, minutes silence and reveille, wreaths were laid in honour of those who died. Committee member Trevor Hodkinson laid a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Air For were unable to attend.

Our President Linda laid a wreath in memory of Private Barrett.

By the family of Pilot Officer Ian MacDonald Henderson

The family of Sergeant Stanley Downs

 

 





After the service two paintings by the chairman were presented to the two families of the pilots. 

 


We then went to the Memorial plaque in Church Street where we observed a minutes silence before the Deputy Lieutenant laid a wreath by the plaque. After this we returned to The Crown & Cushion for refreshments, kindly arranged by our President, Linda.

 

Trevor and the chairman later met the family of Pilot Officer Ian Henderson met at Little Rissington churchyard, where their relative is buried. After laying a wreath on his grave, we showed them around the beautiful church.

 

We would like to thank everyone who attended this moving events and a very special thank you to the very generous donation to our Poppy Appeal. Our total now stands at £14,823.

We will be back at Little Rissington Church for the 6 Flying Training School Remembrance service on Sunday 11th September at 1500, or 2pm if you are our Standard Bearer!