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‘Skeletal’ Stirling to soar at site of former RAF bomber base

PUBLISHED: 08:45 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 08 December 2018

An illustration of a sculpture of an Avro Lancaster in flight at the former RAF East Kirkby base in Lincolnshire. The planned sculpture of the Stirling bomber at  RAF North Creake would look similar. Picture: PLANNING APPLICATION DOCS

An illustration of a sculpture of an Avro Lancaster in flight at the former RAF East Kirkby base in Lincolnshire. The planned sculpture of the Stirling bomber at RAF North Creake would look similar. Picture: PLANNING APPLICATION DOCS

Archant

It was the first four-engine bomber to be used by the Royal Air Force, blazing a trail that would be followed by many other aircraft designs throughout the Second World War.

Nigel Morter and Claire Nugent outside the tower RAF North Creake control tower, during a open day at the former aerodrome. Picture: Matthew Usher.Nigel Morter and Claire Nugent outside the tower RAF North Creake control tower, during a open day at the former aerodrome. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Now a haunting memorial to the Short Stirling and the men and women who kept is flying it being planned for the former North Creake airfield by a couple who live in a converted air control tower there.

Claire Nugent and Nigel Morter, who run The Control Tower B&B, have applied to North Norfolk District Council to erect a skeletal Stirling sculpture along with seating, information boards and a roll of honour remembering the 73 servicemen who lost their lives in the war while stationed at RAF North Creake.

Ms Nugent said of their Time to Remember project: “Ever since we moved here we’ve wanted to commemorate those who served here - we felt it was our duty.

“The sculpture is going to look amazing. The wingspan is about 27 feet across.

A Short Stirling and its crew at RAF North Creake during the Second World War. Picture: Library/Matthew UsherA Short Stirling and its crew at RAF North Creake during the Second World War. Picture: Library/Matthew Usher

“No-one will be able to drive past without realising there was an airfield here, which was our main objective.”

Mr Morter and Ms Nugent said they had been spurred on by meeting Second World War veterans who served at RAF North Creake and elsewhere, including Philip Berkinshaw, a D-Day veteran who lived in Walsingham.

The sculpture, to be designed by Derbyshire-based sculptor Andrew Knighton, would be set on a podium, and its highest point would be about 17 feet above the ground.

Stirlings were based at North Creake from May 1944 to March 1945, along with thousands of airmen, ground crew and Wrens. They were replaced by Halifax bombers for the final few months of the war.

An illustration of the sculpture of the Stirling bomber and memorial planned for RAF North Creake. Picture: PLANNING APPLICATION DOCSAn illustration of the sculpture of the Stirling bomber and memorial planned for RAF North Creake. Picture: PLANNING APPLICATION DOCS

The aircraft was a forerunner to the Avro Lancaster and Handley Page Halifax, which took over the strategic bombing of Germany.

A history talk by Mr Morter is being planned for April 10 next year to help raise money for the memorial.

The couple have already raised thousands towards the project including at an auction and entertainment night at the Black Lion Hotel in Walsingham earlier this year, which brought in more than £5,000.

A Short Stirling at RAF North Creake during the Second World War. Picture: Matthew UsherA Short Stirling at RAF North Creake during the Second World War. Picture: Matthew Usher

A model Stirling outside the former RAF North Creake control tower. Picture: Matthew Usher.A model Stirling outside the former RAF North Creake control tower. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Archive photo of two airmen at North Creake airfield's control tower in 1945. Picture: SGT NORMAN TURNBULLArchive photo of two airmen at North Creake airfield's control tower in 1945. Picture: SGT NORMAN TURNBULL

A Short Stirling bomber operating out of RAF Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire in 1941. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAINA Short Stirling bomber operating out of RAF Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire in 1941. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAIN

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