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The Bleasby Aircrews Memorial

Dedication Saturday 01st September 2018 12:00 noon

It is expected that over 40 relatives from the crews will be attending as well as representatives from the RAF, RAAF, Polish Air Force. If you are unable to attend but would like details sent to you after the event please advise us. We would appreciate that you circulate details of the event via your various social media contacts.

Directions: For satellite navigation key in post code: 'NG14 7GG'. The Memorial is in the centre of Bleasby on the Glebe Field, next to graveyard of St Marys Church, and also near the Waggon and Horses Pub. The address of the pub is Gypsy Lane, Bleasby, Nottingham. For drivers the tower of St Mary's Church is the obvious target to aim for. The church car park is immediately next to the Memorial, so parking is very easy. The memorial is about 1/2 mile walk from Bleasby Rail Station, which is on the Nottingham/ Newark/ Lincoln line - trains are every two hours.

The Memorial concept was created by a Nottingham architect Keith Clark, acting as a volunteer, and a villager Derek McGrath.

Manufacturing feasibility and detailed design was developed by Michael Wright, of D and M Stonemasons of Nottingham. Michael procured the granite stone from India, where the components were specially quarried, cut and polished to the design. The near finished components were shipped to Michael's workshop where Michael completed the finishing touches.

An information book, compiled by Ken Ogilvie, is available for visitors to read in the Waggon and Horses pub nearby, where food and drink is available if required.

This moving and memorable Bleasby Community project was conceived to honour crews who flew from nearby RAF Syerston.

RAF Syerston was built as part of the bomber expansion in the late 1930s, but did not open until 1 December 1940. The first aircraft were Vickers Wellingtons crewed by Polish flyers. In July 1941 they were replaced by members of the RCAF flying Handley-Page Hampdens. From December 1941 until 5 May 1942, the base was closed whilst a concrete runway was built with two T2 hangars. When it re-opened, it became part of No. 5 Group. In 1942 several squadrons of Avro Lancaster aircraft arrived. In 1943 Bill Reid of 61 Squadron won a Victoria Cross on a mission flown from RAF Syerston.

On 17 November 1943 the operational squadrons departed, and the station was used for bomber crew training, led by Captain Robert White. It became known as the Lancaster Finishing School in January 1944. From November 1943 to July 1944 there was also a Bombing and Gunnery Defence Training Flight in attendance with several Wellingtons, Spitfires, Hurricanes, plus a few Martinet tug aircraft, all employed in brushing up the skills of air gunners on air-to-air exercises. The LFS left on 1 April 1945, with No. 49 Squadron arriving from RAF Fulbeck later in the month who only had one operation before leaving to RAF Mepal in September.

Updated photo memorial with turf laid - June 2018

Fundraising is ongoing to complete the foundations and landscaping. This may include the construction of a new brick wall to complete a backdrop, at right angles to, and to match the existing one that marks the boundary with the churchyard. The Bleasby Local History Society have applied for a second grant towards the cost of this work, and if awarded, then this may happen shortly.

This has been a Bleasby Community project, led by Ken Ogilvie, involving members of the Bleasby Local History Society, The Bleasby Parochial Church Council (St Marys Church), and the Bleasby Parish Council. Fundraising involved a variety of village activities and events, including the Bleasby Aircrews memorial steam train excursion, voluntary donations, and a grant from the Nottinghamshire County Council.

If you are unable to attend and wish to place a wreath or, better still donate towards the cost of this wonderful memorial please contact webmaster here.

Featured On Propeller Circle

61 Squadron Lancaster III JB132:

Sq/Ldr. Dennis Crosby Wellburn DFC. of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

F/O. Roy Leslie Clarke of Hastings, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. John Knox Watson of Mid Calder, West Lothian, Scotland

Sgt. John Reid Forrest of Glasgow, Scotland.

Fl/Lt. Richard Edward Davies of West Wickham, Kent, England.

Sgt. Jack Blackett of Durham, England.

F/O. Trevor Francis Joyce of Ruislip, Middlesex, England .

Sgt. Alan Paterson of Glendevon, Perthshire, Scotland.

For further details on this loss read it here.

1654 Heavy Conversion Unit Lancaster I R5698:

P/O. Joseph Widger Murphy Macdonald of Knighton, Radnorshire, Wales.

Sgt. George Robert Joyce of Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent, England.

F/O. Walter Stephen Jobling DFC of Lincoln, England.

Sgt. Thomas George William Shepherd of Stockton-on-Tees, England. (1)

Sgt. Edward Neilan Jones of Wallasey, England.

Sgt. George Herbert Tough of Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland.

Sgt. John Henry Hutchinson of of Liverpool, England.

Fl/Sgt. Robert William Rashbrook of Bassendean, Western Australia.

(1) From new information received September 07th 2018 - enquiries are being made to establish how we are able to add his name to the memorial.

For further details on this loss read it here

304 Squadron (P) Wellington R1014:

Sgt. Stanisław Tofin of Krzyszkowice, Myślenice, Poland.

Sgt. Wojciech Lichota of Rzeszów, Poland.

Sgt. Jan Adam Cymborski of Kraków, Poland.

Sgt. Józef Jończyk of Szopienice, Katowice, Poland.

For further details on this loss read it here

304 Squadron (P) Wellington R1212:

F/O. Rudolf Karol ChrIstmann of Lwów, Poland.

Sgt. Wiesław Leszek Pietruszewski of Warsaw, Poland.

Sgt. Tadeusz Aranowski of Szczutow, Brodnica, Poland.

P/O. Zbigniew Mieczysław Gałczyński of Korytnica, Wegrow, Poland.

Sgt. Antoni Berger of Poznan, Poland.

Sgt. Jan Franciszek Jarosz of Łańcut Poland.

For further details on this loss read it here

Featured On Tail Fin

61 Squadron Lancaster I R5703:

Sq/Ldr. George Ernest Weston DFC. of Nelson City, New Zealand.

Sgt. Frederick George Bellchambers of Highbury, London, England.

P/O. George Alan Hawes of Polegate, East Sussex, England.

Sgt. John McFadyen Ramsey of Edinburgh, Scotland.

F/O. Joseph Edward Hanson DFM. of Girlington, Bradford, England.

Sgt. Jack Machin Robinson of Sheffield, England.

P/O. Lloyd George Gallaway of Sarnia Ontario, Canada.

For further details on this loss read it here

No. 5 Lancaster Finishing School Lancaster I W4232:

P/O. Bruce Lettington Humphreys of Kew, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Alan Townsley of Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. Arthur Harkness Farrel of Blackpool, England.

Sgt. Nelson Harcourt Cutler of Glasshoughton, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Reginald John Brown of Newport, Wales.

Sgt. John Albert Davies of Glengormly, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Sgt. Alan Dennis Bale of Croydon, Surrey, England.

For further details on this loss read it here

"Unknown Airman" [placed in memory of all RAF personnel who were either killed or died from RAF Syerston:

ACI. John Thwaites of Walshaw, Bury, England.

No. 5 Lancaster Finishing school Lancaster I W4258

F/O. William Douglas Lewis of Trenton, Pictou Co., Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sgt. Walter Coldwell of Barnsley, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Robert Russell Lynch of Cobleskill, New York, USA.

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At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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Last Modified: 15 March 2021, 13:56

If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

Alan G 12 May 2018

"What a superb memorial! Grateful thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible. So many men lost from Bomber Command, they are all heroes to me".

Brian R New Zealand:

"Another outstanding effort by you and your team of researchers".

James C England :

"Beautiful memorial. Very fitting".

Louise P England:

"Wow! What a fantastic memorial, It is so moving".

Tony B:

"I hope the event goes extremely well for you".

Russ F Canada:

"This has to be one of the most beautiful memorials ever placed - well done to the village of Bleasby".

Piotr Poland:

Dziękuję wiosce Bleasby za pamięć naszych chłopców

Stefan G Canada:

A most hearty congratulations to Kelvin and Stefan Youngs and others of Aircrew Remembered, the village of Bleasby and all those who contributed in some way to this one-of-a kind brilliantly designed memorial!

Philip M England:

I have been watching the Bleasby Memorial taking shape and am in awe of the village taking so much trouble over this dignified memorial. I am intending to attend the event in September as I now live up in Lincolnshire, not far away. I feel it is something that Father would have wished me to do.

Geoff D. England

As a permanent resident of Bleasby for over 45 years, and former RAF pilot aircrew for 20 years, half of which in Bomber Command, I am so impressed and moved by this permanent tribute to the fallen aircrew in the local area in World War 2. I am aware of only some of the immense work and effort that has gone into this project and the support of the local communities in achieving this memorial, but there has been so much more going on in the background which is not in the public arena, to all of whom I wish to convey my whole-hearted thanks, gratitude and tribute in recognition of your sterling efforts.

With reference to RAF Syerston, a WW2 operational bomber base only a stone's throw from Bleasby, where I served on two occasions in the 1950s and 60s, I feel it worthy of note that in addition to Flt. Lt. Bill Reid, who was awarded his V.C. as a Lancaster pilot of No.106 Squadron at RAF Syerston, two more famous and iconic names from aviation history served in senior roles there in 1942/3: Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson was the boss of No.106 Lancaster Squadron at Syerston in 1942/43, whence he was chosen in March 1943 to form and command the famous No.617 'Dambuster' Squadron, and Air Marshal Sir Augustus 'Gus' Walker, whom I met during my time as a Vulcan Bomber Captain during the Cold War, who, as Group Captain Station Commander in 1942 lost his right arm when a Lancaster bomb load explosion occurred on the ground in his vicinity when he visited to investigate the initial report of its problems when taxying for an operational raid, who only a few months' later returned to pilot flying duties as a one-armed pilot!.

Well-done, everyone!

Gawronski Grzegorz: Poland - 5 August 2018

I send my gratitude to Mr. Ken Ogilvie and all those involved in the construction of the beautiful monument.

Neville Bougourd - 2 September 2018

This was an incredible day and the efforts of the local people were rewarded with fabulous weather and a really good turnout by people from across the country. The memorial itself was wonderfully well designed and beautifully placed in a lovely setting. Well done to the people of Bleasby and be assured that the men you have commemorated would be very happy with your efforts.

Pam: Ireland - 3 December 2019

My father was Kenneth Henry Tough, a brother of George H. Tough. I wish to let you know how amazed I was to come across the articles on line about the fantastic Aircrew memorial in Bleasby. It is a wonderful thing to think that he is remembered along with all the other men in such a lovely way. I would have loved to have been at the dedication in September last year but am hoping that some day I will visit the memorial. Well done to all who put together this fine memorial.

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