Wartime crash victims remembered

Bill Kelsey, chairman of Chaucery Memorial Group, lays a wreath. Picture: Kate Shemilt KS180064-1
Bill Kelsey, chairman of Chaucery Memorial Group, lays a wreath. Picture: Kate Shemilt KS180064-1

Residents remembered the victims of a wartime air crash at a wreath-laying ceremony in Rustington.

Chaucery Memorial Group organised the 73rd anniversary remembrance ceremony and around 40 people attended.

Len Bouttle with an image of the aircraft he created by the memorial ks180064-4

Len Bouttle with an image of the aircraft he created by the memorial ks180064-4

An RAF Mosquito aircraft, which took off from Ford, crashed into four bungalows on February 17, 1945, and caught fire. The pilot, Wing Commander William Hudson Maguire, navigator Flight Lieutenant Denis Strickland Lake and three residents, Arthur Foster, 57, Florence Ward, 50, and Edward Vincent, 63, were killed.

They were testing a US altimeter when there was a suspected control problem, or engine failure, causing a loss of control.

The Chaucery Memorial and Garden, opposite 50 Chaucer Avenue, was officially opened on the 65th anniversary, February 17, 2010, by Canon Brian Maguire, the son of the pilot, and Simon Lake, a nephew of the navigator.

Mr Maguire, who was only 11 at the time of the crash, sent a card with his best wishes for this year’s ceremony.

The Chaucery Memorial and Garden ks180064-5

The Chaucery Memorial and Garden ks180064-5

Bill Kelsey, chairman of the memorial group, said: “True to say that as well as Chaucer Avenue residents, others from Littlehampton and Rustington are known to have attended.

“Littlehampton branch, the Royal Air Forces Association, of which I am president, have no dedicated standard bearer, fortunately, Sgt Nathan Mays from 1087 (Arun Valley) Squadron, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, carried our branch standard on parade, which he did very well.

“During 2017, it is known that the Arun Wellbeing walkers have visited the Chaucery Memorial site on several occasions.

“Visiting guests staying at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Princess Marina House in Rustington have also been known to have visited.”

Len Bouttle with remnants of the aircraft he found in his garden ks180064-3

Len Bouttle with remnants of the aircraft he found in his garden ks180064-3

Dawn Claydon, who was part of the group that started the memorial, lays her rose ks180064-2

Dawn Claydon, who was part of the group that started the memorial, lays her rose ks180064-2