Service marks 70 years since Chediston war tragedy
PUBLISHED: 14:01 11 September 2012
THE son of a New Zealand bomber pilot, who died after his plane crashed on Suffolk soil during world war two, has visited the site of his father’s death.
George Munro, 73, a retired dairy farmer from Timaru on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, was only three-and-a-half when his father, Tom, perished and has no memory of him.
But his emotions were evident on Sunday as he was guest of honour at a memorial service at Chediston church, near Halesworth, to mark the 70th anniversary of the tragedy.
He later visited nearby Herne Hill Farm where the Wellington bomber crash-landed on September 10, 1942 on its return from a bombing raid over Germany, killing the two New Zealanders and three British crew on board. Tom Munro was 31 when he died.
Mr Munro, who made the trip halfway across the globe to Chediston with his wife Ann after being invited by villagers, said: “I’ve visited Ipswich, where my father is buried, but I’ve never come to Chediston where my father’s plane came down.
“It’s quite emotional to finally get here after all these years. The people here have been fantastic and it’s amazing that they still go out of their way to commemorate the men who died.”
Among the people Mr Munro met was Doug Cady, who was 17 at the time of the plane crash.
He said: “When I heard that a plane had come down, I ran up to the farm to see if I could help. We tried to quell the blaze with buckets of water but the flames were too fierce.
“We still read out the names of the men who died on Remembrance Sunday.”