A memorial service for six Canadian airmen who crashed into a hillside above Oakworth during the Second World War was attended yesterday by the Lord Mayor of Bradford and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.
Beside a mossy stone bearing the names of the young fliers who died on a training mission in January 1944, Councillor Dale Smith and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Richard Jackson, were joined by Colonel Paul Keddy, of the Royal Canadian Airforce, for a service led by Bryony Partridge, Curate of Christ’s Church, Oakworth.
Cadets of Keighley Air Training Corps 6431 Squadron made a guard of honour during the service which is held every January to commemorate the courage of the bomber aircrew And as the last note of the Last Post faded, a minute’s silence was held in memory of their heroism.
Paying tribute to the crew of the Wellington – Norman Crawford, James Dalling, Ernest Glass, Jack Henfrey, James McHenry and Emery Savage – Col Keddy said such acts of remembrance were a source of inspiration.
He said: “The RCAF lost six per cent of its total force during the course of the war.
“The Canadian No 6 Bomber Group based here in Yorkshire carried out more than 40,000 sorties and some 8,000 decorations for bravery were awarded.
“Our duty is that we will always be there for them and never forget,” he told the gathering of local councillors, Royal British Legion and members of Oakworth Village Society.
Coun Dale Smith said he was impressed by the number of children among the 40-strong crowd.
He said: “It’s important we remember the few who made the sacrifice which enables us to live as we do today.”
Society secretary Janet Armstrong said there was a duty to ensure the airmen’s brave commitment was never forgotten: “The nicest thing is that the young people here will realise what those men did and then remember it forever.”