EVENTS are taking place this weekend to remember the heroic airmen who flew from a County Durham airbase during the Second World War.
A concert on Friday night at the Darlington Civic Theatre will kick off the commemorative weekend which honours the brave crews that flew from the former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) base at Middleton St George, Darlington.
The Band of the Royal Air Force College will perform a tribute to Canadian airman Andrew Mynarski who died whilst rescuing a comrade from their burning plane.
A statue of Mr Mynarski stands at the former RCAF base - now Durham Tees Valley Airport – and it is there that a commemorative service will be held on Saturday morning at 10.30am.
The service will include the presentation of a piece of wreckage from Mr Mynarski’s Lancaster plane by Stan Instone – one of only two original crew members still alive today – to staff at the St George Hotel.
The wreckage was recovered after Mr Instone’s son tracked down the man who farmed the land at the German crash site.
It will be displayed at the St George Hotel which occupies the former officers mess at the Middleton St George base.
On Saturday night there will be a dinner dance at the hotel to raise funds for the Middleton St George Memorial Association.
Edsel Amlin, one of the organising committee and RCAF standard bearer, said it was important to remember the sacrifices made by the airmen during the war.
“If they didn’t do what they did, we would not be here now,” he said.
“If you read Hitler’s manifesto of what he was going to do with England when he invaded, everybody would be speaking German now and all the soldiers would have been lined against a wall and shot.”