15th February 2014
Today’s events are being held to commemorate the five young airmen who were killed exactly 70 years ago when their Avro Anson aeroplane came down in Cae Erw, close to Marl Woods, whilst on a training flight to North Yorkshire from Mona Airport in Anglesey:
Flt. Sgt. Melville Owen Samuels
Flt. Sgt. Thomas Malcolm Clothier
P/O Charles Henry Melbourne
Flt. Lt. Jan Mikolaj Radecki
Sgt. Sylvester Kenneth Yates
During the Church Service at St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Llandudno Junction, a plaque, commissioned by the History Group with help from Conwy Town Council, will be unveiled by relatives of the five airmen. This plaque will, in due course be sited close to where the tragic accident occurred.
After the Church Service, further commemorative events will be held at the Llandudno Junction Community Club off Victoria Drive, when a further plaque, commissioned by the Community of Llandudno Junction, will be unveiled in the beautifully designed Memorial Gardens within the grounds.
A retiring collection towards the Welsh Memorial in Flanders Campaign will be taken at the end of the Church Service.
Descendants of the airmen travelled from as far as Bournemouth, Berkshire, Cornwall and Liverpool to attend the commemoration and it was they who unveiled the plaque during a very moving service at St Michael and All Angels Church, Llandudno Junction. The service was led by the Vicar, the Reverend Peter Walker and the Reverend Gareth Edwards. The Reverend Walker also composed a poem to mark the tragic event and this he read out during the service. The local Air Cadets performed their ceremonial duties to perfection giving an appropriate air of solemnity to the occasion. The 2 minutes silence after the last post by the Bugler was followed by the Reveille.
After the service, the events moved on the Community Club in Llandudno Junction where another plaque, commissioned by the local community, was again unveiled by the families in the beautiful Memorial garden which has been laid out by Mrs Mel Lewis, with a lot of help from pupils of Ysgol y Gogarth. 5 Silver Birch trees have been planted in this garden, to commemorate each airman. Again the Air Cadets performed their duties admirably. At this point, Mr Stan Roberts, who actually witnessed the accident in 1944, gave a marvellous rendition of Eli Jenkins’ Prayer from ‘Under Milk Wood’. Everybody then adjourned to the Community Club for welcome refreshments on what was a wet and windy day. Later in the afternoon, an illustrated talk was given by Gwyn Hughes where he provided a background of the circumstances which surrounded the tragic accident.
Despite the dreadful weather, those present will keep the memories of that day with them for a long time.
You should be very proud of your Committee, for the work and effort that they put into organising the event, BUT special thanks must go to Mr Gwyn Hughes, your webmaster. Gwyn has lived and slept this occasion for many, many months and has put in a terrific amount of time, energy and patience into organising of the event. He dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’. He contacted the families of the airmen, and the sympathetic way in which he dealt with them in such sad circumstances was something to behold. Thank you very much Gwyn.
We should also mention the contribution in time and energy and zip wire riding of Councillor Mike Priestley. Thank you Mike.
in the long years of play & growing
& picking mushrooms in Marl Woods
history passed us by
just the khaki shadow of my father
as he spent his leave in beer & baby-making
the sharp taste of salt licked from my fingers
as the vinegar soaks the Daily Post
& Monty’s victory at el Alamein
the crumps & flashes to the north
over Birkenhead & Liverpool
like fireworks as far away as Mars
as we skipped away from school
on a cold February afternoon
a loud curse of metal
like a cow in Emyr’s slaughterhouse
& a mad rush of birds in panic
clouding the sun with our childhood fears & prayers
only the red fruit
hanging from the bony branches
& the smell of burning pine
that even now fills me with little sparks of tears
five souls floated down like sycamore seeds
to land where poppies grow
& children ask to find the stories behind
& learn that sometimes
freedom knocks at the door of our hearts
with a heavy, heavy hand
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