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Relic of wartime tragedy finds new home
3:52pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
A POIGNANT reminder of a wartime tragedy has found an appropriate new home in the memorial room of a major RAF base.
The escape axe from a Halifax bomber which crashed in a North Yorkshire field 68 years ago has been formally presented to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York.
The Canadian aircraft was returning to its base in March 1945 when, in the early hours of the morning, the villagers of Langthorpe near Boroughbridge, were woken by the sound of air raid sirens and cannon fire.
Among them was 10-year-old Aiden Foster who could see one aircraft on fire and, following another burst of cannon fire, another aircraft burst into flames.
He and his boyhood friends cycled to the crash site, by Burton Grange Farm, between Langthorpe and Helperby, the next day. The aircraft had crashed upside down and all eight on board had died. Investigations showed it had been brought down by a Messerschmitt 110.
In 1950, while ploughing the crash site Aiden saw the shaft of an axe sticking from the ground. He recovered it and realized that it was from the downed Halifax.
He kept the relic – which sadly the crew had not had time to use - in his shed for 63 years and was reminded of it when, as the vice-chairman of the Boroughbridge branch of the Royal British Legion, he attended the dedication of a memorial to the crew.
And following a conversation with station commander Group Captain David Cooper, it now has a new permanent home in the base’s memorial room along with other relics of Linton’s wartime past.
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