On a crisp morning 70 years after a B-17 Flying Fortress from neighbouring Horham airfield crashed in the village killing all ten crew Redlingfield commemorated their loss with a special ceremony.
Not only was it 70 years on from the November 19th 1943 crash that destroyed Green Farm but miraculously took no lives in the village but the occasion was also marked by the visit of relatives of co-pilot Warren Mansfield Strawn – the first relatives to visit the memorial since it was dedicated in 2010.
Re-enactors Reg and Scott Bradley with Matt Miles set the scene in period uniform with the Stars and Stripes flying at half mast as villagers gathered at the memorial close to the scene of the crash.
T/Sgt Morgan and S/Sgt Schlotthauer from Lakenheath, T/Sgt Andrew ‘Drew’ Wilder from Mildenhall and Stradbroke & District Royal British Legion standard bearer Joyce Cooper lined up alongside the memorial with USAF 48th Fighter Wing, Wing Chaplain, Ch, Lt Col Gary Snyder and the new rector Rev Michael Womack.
Current Suffolk County Council Chairman Guy McGregor attended in his official regalia and Eddie and Edith Coe – who first proposed a memorial be erected – were also at the ceremony.
Marcia Moyer, the niece of Warren Mansfield Strawn, had made the trip with her brother Danny Clegg and his wife Ninette. Danny and Marcia along with Ann Stebbings, who as a little girl was rescued from nearby Green Farm which destroyed in the crash, laid a wreath.
Lt Col Snyder, Rev Womack and 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association chairman gave addresses before a moving speech by Marcia.
Marcia told the BBC: “"I'm emotional and overwhelmed at what this community has done to remember my uncle and the rest of the boys. No-one should be forgotten who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.
"Even though I didn't know my uncle, as I was born after the war, I'm very proud of what he did and he paid the ultimate sacrifice."
The event was featured throughout the day on Radio Suffolk with interviews recorded after the event at the site in Redlingfield and at the Red Feather Club. Marcia was also interviewed after the event by Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin. A Diss Express reporter and photographer also recorded the event.
Thank you to all those who helped and attended the ceremony and those back at the Red Feather Club who made sure we could thaw out afterwards at a get-together with hot refreshments. Also special thanks to Patrick and Beverley Abbott who hosted our three visitors from the US.
To see the excellent Diss Express Redlingfield video click here. To see the BBC B-17 memorial report click here. Click here for the B-17 memorial report in the East Anglian Daily Times. The Radio Suffolk programmes featuring reports and interviews are available on the BBC iplayer for six days after the event.
Top: the two minutes' silence. Below: Danny Clegg & Marcia Moyer, the nephew & neice of co-pilot 2nd Lt Warren Mansfield Strawn, with others, including Suffolk County Council chairman Guy McGregor, at the ceremony. Inset: Laying the wreath and Rev Michael Womack leading prayer. For further photographs visit our picture gallery.