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Poignant appeal over lost Rawtenstall airman
AN aircraft recovery team which has excavated parts of a Second World War plane that crash-landed in a field in 1946 are appealing for the family of its navigator to get in touch.
Flight Sergeant Alan Ashworth, who lived in Beech Street, Rawtenstall, was killed when the De Havilland Mosquito broke up at high altitude over Billinghay, Lincolnshire and plummeted to the ground.
The body of the 23-year-old and pilot Flight Sergeant David McLaren, 22, from Weymouth, were recovered by the Ministry of Defence.
Sgt Ashworth was buried at Kay Street Baptist Church Rawtenstall, with full military honours, where he was secretary of the Sunday school before volunteering for service in 1942.
Now the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group has retrieved much of the plane, which was buried 25 feet deep in a farmer’s field, and would like to dedicate a memorial to the servicemen at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Museum in Spilsby.
David Willey, from the group, said: “They both had very short lives, and it’s really worth remembering them.
“It’s tragic, because the war was over by then. Their parents must have been devastated, thinking their boys would be coming home.
“We’d like to make a memorial to the young men, using pieces of the plane and words about them, and would like any relatives to get in touch with us.”
Mr Willey said: “A family friend of mine saw the crash when it happened, so I knew where to locate the site.
“A lot of the aircraft was wooden, which has perished over time, but we managed to get a number of metal pieces from the plane using metal detectors. They will be made into a display.”
To contact the team, call 01790 763207, or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
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