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Brome memorial unveiled 80 years after 17 killed in World War Two aircraft tragedy





A memorial – paying tribute to British civilians and American airmen killed in an aircraft accident in Brome – has been unveiled 80 years to the minute that the tragedy took place.

At 10.35am on November 10, 1943, 13 American airmen and four British civilians on the ground died after a B-17 Flying Fortress, which had taken off from Thorpe Abbotts Airfield on its way to RAF Alconbury, crashed near to where The Oaksmere Hotel stands today.

The aircraft had experienced an on-board fire just after take-off, which caused the worst aviation related incident mid-Suffolk has ever seen.

Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Members of RAF Alconbury USAF Honour Guard at the unveiling. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Members of RAF Alconbury USAF Honour Guard at the unveiling. Picture: Mark Bullimore
M/Sgt Robert Hale - Retired speaking on behalf of Robert Morgan (nephew of B-17 Pathfinder radar mechanic). Picture: Mark Bullimore
M/Sgt Robert Hale - Retired speaking on behalf of Robert Morgan (nephew of B-17 Pathfinder radar mechanic). Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Susan Reynolds-Sherman, (niece of B-17 Pathfinder Pilot 1st Lieutenant Arthur Reynolds) speaking at the ceremony. Mark Bullimore
Susan Reynolds-Sherman, (niece of B-17 Pathfinder Pilot 1st Lieutenant Arthur Reynolds) speaking at the ceremony. Mark Bullimore

On Saturday, around 200 people attended a ceremony on the hotel’s grounds to see a memorial unveiled honouring the 17 men.

Clive Stevens, part of a committee which helped to raise £7,500 to fund the memorial, said its unveiling was something very special.

He said: “We realised that we were coming up to the 80th anniversary of this tragedy and something had to be done, and it snowballed from there. Donations came from all over the world.

Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Vickie Kolousek Tregnor (niece of B-17 Pathfinder Radar Mechanic M/Sgt Robert Levi). Picture: Mark Bullimore
Vickie Kolousek Tregnor (niece of B-17 Pathfinder Radar Mechanic M/Sgt Robert Levi). Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Unveiling of Brome War Memorial, on November 10. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“Thank you to everyone. This is the greatest tragedy in Brome and the district in modern times and the memorial needed to be fitting of the purpose behind it.

“I am exceptionally proud of the community in together to support it – now it will never be forgotten.”

Present at Saturday’s unveiling were descendants of some of the crew, as well as members of the US Air Force from RAF Mildenhall, representatives from RAF 57 Squadron and personnel from RAF Alconbury.



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