Ambitions for a Kedington Air Memorial for Second World War crash casualties are shaping up nicely
The group behind a new memorial to those who died in military plane crashes in Kedington during or in the build-up to the Second World War is in their final push to complete their fund-raising.
The Kedington Air Memorial group was formed in 2017 with the goal of erecting a memorial to the 21 airmen and one civilian who perished in five crashes between September 1938 and April 1945.
Renowned sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, whose work includes the statues standing outside Ipswich Town FC of Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson, has been commissioned to complete the four foot high bronze memorial, which will be erected on the wall inside Kedington Community Centre.
Kedington man Kevin Betts, who formed the group, said £12,000 has so far been raised and spent on the sculpture, for which the mould has been made and about £2,000 has been raised towards the foundry costs, but another £3,500 is needed to complete the project.
Mr Betts said: “We hoped we would get it done for this Remembrance Day but that’s not going to happen now, so we are looking now at Spring, possibly on the anniversary of one of the crashes.
“I think we have done really well to get this far.”
The first of the crashes involved a Vickers Wellesley from RAF Stradishall that came down in Cock Hill while on a training flight on September 29, 1938, killing three airmen, among them Sgt-Pilot Harry Newby.
Sgt Newby’s niece, Joyce Griffiths is among a number of relatives of those who were killed or injured in the crashes that has expressed an interest to Mr Betts in visiting Kedington to see the crash site where here ancestor died. Indeed, some relatives have already visited Kedington, or are scheduled to do so.
In two weeks time, Lynette Hilson, the daughter of Australian air gunner Sgt George Duffy will be coming to Kedington from her home in Sydney, Australia.
She will visit the fields of Poplar Farm where the Stirling bomber that her father was on had exploded at 600ft and sent him hurtling to the ground before he could deploy his parachute.
Amazingly, Sgt Duffy survived his fall but six of the crew died.
Kedington Air Memorial Group also hope to pay for a headstone at the grave in the village cemetery of 20-year-old Home Guardsman George Smith, the only civilian casualty of the crashes.
He was electrocuted by fallen cables while trying to help the crew of a Stirling that crashed in Kings Hill on February 10, 1943. Four of the crew were also killed.