Eye woman tracks down relatives of B17 crash crew
PUBLISHED: 11:48 03 September 2012 | UPDATED: 11:48 03 September 2012
After years of painstaking research a woman has managed to track down relatives of a crew who died after their aircraft crashed during in the second world war.
At 10.30am on the morning of Wednesday, November 10, 1943 a B17 heavy bomber crashed in Brome, near Eye, killing all 13 onboard.
Nearly 60 years on, Diane Godbold, 61, of Eye has put five years of research into the crash.
“We only found out about it when we moved to Brome,” said Ms Godbold.
“I could not say how many hours I have spent on this, I have been up to 2-3 in the morning working on it.
“I started researching to see if there was anyone else who was looking for information and I found four relatives.
“I was able to provide the families information about how the crash took place and what happened to them, it’s been a sort of closure for them,” she said.
The plane, which was one of the first to be fitted with a top secret radar device, had received orders after taking off from RAF Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk, that the mission had been cancelled due to bad weather.
The crew was told to return to their base at RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire the home of 482nd Bomb Group, but just as the plane left the runway a fire broke out in the cockpit.
The pilot, 1st Lieutenant Arthur Reynolds, asked to return to Thorpe Abbotts but was told to go to RAF Eye despite the runway being under construction.
The crew fought to keep the plane in the air but the fire caused the loss of vital instruments before the aircraft lost altitude and crashed.
The belly of the aircraft slid across a small country lane taking out four men working in the road and exploded into an inferno in a field.
Ms Godbold only heard about the crash by chance when a local electrician told her about it when she was living in her previous home in Brome.
Ms Godbold set to work researching the crash and its history by working with local Eye historian, Peggy Garnham.
She also contacted clairvoyant Patricia Putt who helped her find out more about the crash.
After much hard work Ms Godbold managed to trace Diane Price whose mother was married to the plane’s ball turret gunner Leslie Boling.
Ms Price, 64, who lives in Dayton, Ohio, USA, came to England for three weeks to investigate the crash and to meet Ms Godbold.
“To me it’s meant a closer relationship with my mother and what she went through, and Leslie as a person,” said Ms Price.
“It was important to come here. I needed to see for myself about how it happened.”
Leslie had married Ms Price’s mother, Jinny, only three days before he was sent to England to help in the war effort.
Over the years the couple sent more 110 letters to each other and Ms Price has in the last year started to read them.