Plea to trace family of Blaenavon RAF crew member who died in wartime crash

AN EX RAF Warrant officer is trying to trace the relatives of a Blaenavon RAF crew member who died in a plane crash in 1943.

Neil Trotter served in the RAF as a warrant officer for 38 years, and has a personal account of the crash on June 18, 1943 that killed nine RAF crewmembers.

This included Corporal Thomas John Bond, the son of Thomas and Alice Bond of Forge Side, Blaenavon.

Mr Bonds' funeral was reported in the Free Press of Monmouthshire on July 2, 1943.

Now, Mr Trotter, 76, would like to see a memorial put up in memory of the crew, and wants any relatives to get in contact to attend the dedication service.

Back in 1943, Mr Trotter was playing in his school playground in the village of Scredington, in Lincolnshire.

He recalled: "On hearing a low-flying aircraft I looked up to see a Lancaster fly very low over the school.

"The aircraft continued across the sky and disappeared from view in the direction of where I lived."

When school was finished, he walked home, and found his front door wide open and his mother not home.

He said: "It wasn't long before my mother appeared and went on to tell me that an aircraft had crashed in the field right behind our house.

"This field belonged to Mr and Mrs Chamberlain of High Gate Farm. When the crash occurred, the Chamberlains and my mother had rushed out of the house with the thought of assisting in some way."

It was soon realised that nothing could be done for this Lancaster crew.

He added: "This incident has recurred in my thoughts many times over the years. "Why, I don't know, but it never occurred to me to investigate this incident whilst I was serving when I had a telephone to hand every day connected to all military lines and facilities."

In 2002, he decided too try and find out more information so drafted a letter to the Lincolnshire Lancaster Society, who placed his plea online, but still he heard nothing.

Then a couple of years later a friend managed to track down the rank, name and nationality of all the casualties.

Since, Mr Trotter has received emails from people saying that they feel a memorial should be placed in Scredington for the nine airmen who died.

Things have moved quickly and St Andrews Church, Scredington have been approached to house the memorial.

It is hoped that the date of the memorial dedication day will be arranged for a Sunday nearest to the crash day.

For more information contact Mr Trotter on 01472 233919 or email costa.rei@ntlworld.com

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