Memorial service honouring Second World War airmen postponed

By Mark Andrews | Wednesfield | News | Published:

A ceremony to honour the casualties of a plane crash during the last days of the Second World War has been postponed due to the coronovirus crisis.

Gordon Rabbetts, Vincent Southworth, John Sills, Reginald Smith, Bernard Hall and Victor Meade, were all killed in the 1945 crash over Wednesfield

Barry Meade, son of air bomber Victor Meade, had been due to travel to Wednesfield, near Wolverhampton, to unveil a monument in memory of his father and six other airmen who died when their Lancaster bomber crashed in a field near Lichfield Road.

The event was due to take place at 5.15pm on May 17, to coincide with the time of the crash.

But Ray Fellows, of Wednesfield History Society, who has been the driving force behind the monument, said the decision had reluctantly been made to postpone the event.

"It's really disappointing, particularly as we had a Spitfire fly-past booked, and now we've cancelled that we won't be able to get another booking this year," he said.

As well as Flying Officer Meade, pilot Bernard Hall, flight engineer Ronald James O'Donnell, navigator Reginald Smith, wireless operator Gordon Rabbetts and air gunners Vincent Southworth and John Sills all died in the crash.

Mr Fellows said he did not yet have a date for when the reorganised ceremony would take place.

Bloxwich-based Hilton Main Construction has agreed to cover most of the £6,000 cost of the monument.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.


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