Dedication ceremony for Bleasby’s tribute to the fallen
Nottinghamshire County Council funding has contributed to a new memorial remembering around 40 airmen who perished in numerous incidents near the village of Bleasby in the county during World War II.
Around 40 family members of those who died who have been traced attended the dedication ceremony of The Bleasby Aircrews Memorial on Saturday, September 1, at 1pm, following a church service at St Mary’s Church in the village.
Attendance at the church service itself was by invitation-only with 180 guests already anticipated attending including Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Council Chairman Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington, and the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir John Peace. The Venerable Robin Turner, Chaplain-in-Chief and Archdeacon in the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, and Bleasby parish vicar Phil White led the service.
Among the guests were relatives of the fallen airmen from both Australia and Canada as well as from across the UK. The memorial is situated next to St Mary’s Church in Glebe Field, Bleasby. The Community Project has been created by a team of Bleasby villagers led by Ken Ogilvie, and overseen by the Bleasby Parish Council, the churchwardens of St Mary’s Church, and the committee of the Bleasby Local History Society.
The £20,000 project has been five years in development with fundraising coming from the village through a series of events, talks and other activities, including a steam train special charter, and a total of £5,500 from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme supported by local Member for Southwell Councillor Roger Jackson and local Member for Farndon and Trent Councillor Sue Saddington.
Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington, who backed the village’s bid for Local Improvement Scheme funding, said: “This funding contributes to a permanent and accessible paved foundation for the new Bleasby Aircrews Memorial for the 40 named, and other unknown, RAF aircrew men who were killed in flying incidents that happened very close to Bleasby during World War Two. The church service and dedication ceremony was a very poignant occasion for everyone.
"Ken Ogilvie and his team, with the support of the Parish and County Councils, have done a fantastic job in bringing this memorial together. It is a fitting place of remembrance for both the relatives of those who died and local residents - a permanent reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by those brave aircrew."
Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Councillor Kay Cutts, MBE, said: “The men who were killed in these aircraft crashes came from the UK, Poland, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, most of whom were based at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire. As a county council, we are honoured to have been able to play a part in remembering these people and supporting this wonderful project.”
Villager Ken Ogilvie, 70, from Main Street, Bleasby, started almost from scratch five years ago to uncover information about the fallen airmen who died in the immediate area of Bleasby. As well as approaching the Royal Air Force and the Canadian and Australian air forces, he scoured local records, the National Archive, newspapers and appealed for information from a whole host of sources to uncover what happened with each accident.
He said: “The church service and dedication ceremony was an emotional occasion, particularly as so many relatives of those killed will be attending. Until the research was carried out, many of these families did not know the exact circumstances about how their loved one died in the war and we have been able to find this information out for them.”
Bleasby air memorial - project team
Photo one - from left - Keith Clark, memorial architect, Ken Ogilvie, Bleasby Parish vicar Phil White, Notts County Council Leader Coun Kay Cutts, Notts County Council Chairman Coun Sue Saddington, Lord-Lieutenant Sir John Peace, The Venerable Robin Turner, Coun Roger Jackson, Peter Cast, Chairman Bleasby Parish Council and Michael Wright, D and M Stonemasons.
Photo 2 the families - from left:
Jim Humphreys from Australia, younger brother of Bruce Humphreys, Ken Ogilvie, Bleasby Parish vicar Phil White, Notts County Council Leader Coun Kay Cutts, Notts County Council Chairman Coun Sue Saddington, Lord-Lieutenant Sir John Peace, The Venerable Robin Turner, May Wady from Canada, daughter of Thomas Wady of Wellington R1473 (he survived by parachuting from the plane), Kelvin Youngs of Aircrewremembered.com and Alastair Graham, son of Wing Commander Graham.