World War II and Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire is home to more than 20 memorials, dedicated to the brave men and women who lost their lives for their country.
Many of these people had travelled from around the world to air bases in Nottinghamshire, to train and serve as World War II bomber crews.
Memorials and displays at Newark Air Museum proudly commemorate the crew of a 619 Squadron Lancaster, ME846 that was shot down over northern Belgium on 22nd June 1944. Like so many others, the aircraft’s crew comprised of an Australian, a Canadian and British airmen who had trained at RAF Winthorpe with 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), and with 5 Lancaster Finishing School (LFS) at RAF Syerston - before flying on operations with 619 Squadron, which is often referred to as “The Forgotten Squadron”.
Staunton in the Vale
This memorial commemorates the crew of 61 Squadron Lancaster W4270 that crashed 1 mile north west of St Mary’s Church on 18 February 1943. The aircraft was operating from RAF Syerston and was returning there when it got into difficulties. All of the crew were killed in the crash and most were returned for burial in their home towns. However the Canadian pilot “Herb” Warne is buried in Newark Cemetery (No 307 Section P). Research into the crash has brought to light a lot of new information, including the fact that the crew trained with 1661 HCU at RAF Winthorpe.
The main part of this memorial is a stone seat, which is a scale replica of a Lancaster tail section; the crew names and aircraft / squadron details of four crashes are inscribed on in the inner and outer surfaces of the ‘vertical tail fins’. Three other crashes are commemorated on a stone plaque in front of the seat. More than forty airmen of many different nationalities who flew from, or to the nearby RAF Syerston just across the River Trent are commemorated; these include British, Polish and Commonwealth personnel.
Over the years Newark Air Museum has dedicated several memorials to reflect RAF Winthorpe’s role as a training base. The RAF Winthorpe / 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) memorial that was unveiled on 24th September 2000 features part of a propeller hub of a Stirling EF186, from 1661 HCU, which was then based at RAF Winthorpe. The aircraft crashed at Breeder Hills near Grantham, Lincs on 4 December 1944 carrying a crew of nine, and there were no survivors.
During World War Two, Balderton was a wartime RAF station which hosted among others No.408 (Goose) Squadron RCAF, the USAAF 437th and 439th Transport Carrier Groups that participated in Operation Overlord (D-Day) and Operation Market Garden (Arnhem), the Rolls-Royce jet engine trials unit, and No.227 Squadron RAF.
The memorial at Newark Air Museum highlights the “Station of Nations” term that has come to describe RAF Balderton in Nottinghamshire.