PICTURES: War memorial service held for American airmen killed in plane crash

Soldiers at the church

Soldiers at the church - Credit: Archant

A special war memorial service in East Horndon on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of a plane crash that killed 20 American soldiers.

Lord Petre the Loed Lieutenant of Essex

Lord Petre the Loed Lieutenant of Essex - Credit: Archant

The service was attended by local residents, the Mayor of Brentvvood, Madeline Henwood; Brentvvood and Ongar MP Eric Pickles and Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex.

Air cadets at the service in All Saints church

Air cadets at the service in All Saints church - Credit: Archant

American officers Col Nancy Bozzer and Assistant Air Attaché Kyle Hurwitz of RAF Mildenhall were also present.

Organiser David Sparks, of Middleton Hall Lane, Brentvvood, said the service at All Saints Church in East Horndon was a great way to honour the soldiers.

He said: “It meant a lot to the people and there was a good turnout. Some of the Brentvvood residents may not have known much about it before Saturday.

“It was really nice to see a lot of cadets from the Royal Navy, RAF and the Army, as well as Bishop John Wraw, who gave thanks.”

The accident occurred when two Flying Fortress aircraft were returning in formation from a terminated mission in France in 1943 and collided in mid-air.

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Mr Sparks said it is believed one of the planes came down on top of the other, with one crash-landing at Tillingham Hall Farm and the other at Nutty Farm, where it collided with an oak tree.

He added: “One gentleman who attended claims he saw the collision happen, and another lady, Janet McCheyn, says her mother saw it and welcomed the wounded airman into her home and helped him.”

The survivor, Staff Sgt John J. Adams, was shipped back to America, where it is believed he died in about 1980.

The service lasted one hour and featured the Royal British Legion Brentvvood youth band who played The Last Post and Reveille.

Madeline Henwood provided words of welcome, and words of thanks came from Mr Pickles.