Service for American airmen

American airmen who lost their lives when a B17 bomber they were flying in crashed 70 years ago were remembered at a service in Helmdon on Saturday last week.

Led by the Rev Carole Peters and Chaplain Jack Stanley, the service was attended by 30 personnel from the nearby USAAF base at RAF Croughton who formed a guard of honour. They gathered to remember the 10 airmen who died when their plane, Sharon Belle, crashed near Astwell Castle Farm on November 30, 1943. The cause of the crash remains a mystery.

Rememberance service at St Magdelene Parish Church, Helmdon, for USAAF servicemen who died when their bomber crashed near Astwell Castle on 30th Novbember 1943.

Rememberance service at St Magdelene Parish Church, Helmdon, for USAAF servicemen who died when their bomber crashed near Astwell Castle on 30th Novbember 1943.

Eye-witness Derek Ratledge, who lived at the farm as a boy, has spent the past six years tracing the relatives of the fateful crew.

The service was also attended by RAF Croughton commanding officer Group Commander Col Charles Hamilton who paid tribute to the airmen.

501 Combat Support wing have provided a video report of the service for the Advertiser and Review.