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‘Forgotten’ Shropshire RAF airmen honoured in Spain


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‘Forgotten’ Shropshire RAF airmen honoured in Spain

Image copyright RAFA Image caption Flt Sgt Ernest Hansom, Flt Lt Leonard West and aircraftmen Roy Ousley and Neville Jones died when their plane crashed on the Montgo mountain Seven men who died in a “forgotten” RAF accident in Spain almost 70 years ago have been honoured with a memorial.A Wellington bomber from RAF Shawbury,…

‘Forgotten’ Shropshire RAF airmen honoured in Spain

Four crewmen who died in the crash - Flt Sgt Ernest Hansom, Flt Lt Leonard West and aircraftmen Roy Ousley and Neville JonesImage copyright
RAFA

Image caption

Flt Sgt Ernest Hansom, Flt Lt Leonard West and aircraftmen Roy Ousley and Neville Jones died when their plane crashed on the Montgo mountain

Seven men who died in a “forgotten” RAF accident in Spain almost 70 years ago have been honoured with a memorial.

A Wellington bomber from RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, crashed on a mountain above Denia in Alicante, on 5 December 1950.

Last week, relatives and airmen gathered at the site to see a plinth unveiled, thought to be the first in Spain dedicated to an RAF crew.

“I can’t believe how special this has been for our family,” said Martyn Shaw, grandson of Flt Sgt Ernest Hansom.

Details of the accident were pieced together by the North Costa Blanca branch of the RAF Association (RAFA).

Members found that pilot Flt Lt Leonard West had boarded the Wellington Mk 10 in Shrewsbury as commander of a formation on its way to Gibraltar for a training exercise.

A strained relationship with Spain’s fascist dictator General Franco meant UK aircraft were not permitted to fly over his country’s airspace and a route over the Mediterranean was planned.

Image copyright
John Snell

Image caption

Charles Cocksedge, grandson of Flt Lt Leonard West, laid flowers on the memorial

Also on board were Master Navigator Peter Pullar, Flt Lt Robert Baker, Flt Sgt Hansom and three aircraftmen: Neville Jones, Roy Ousley and Peter Field Thorne.

But the bomber came down in a thunderstorm on the Montgo mountain, with the resulting explosion heard by locals in the nearby town of Denia.

The RAFA North Costa Blanca thanked people who recovered the bodies.

“They contacted the Air Ministry, and at their request, arranged for the crew’s bodies to be transported to Gibraltar where they received a full military funeral,” said Wing Cdr Cameron Gair, branch president.

The plinth was unveiled by Air Marshal Sir Graham Stacey, RAFA European Area President, who praised his branch’s efforts in raising €1,500 (£1,267) for it.

Sixteen relatives travelled from the UK to mark the occasion, which was followed by a church service and lunch also attended by representatives from RAF Shawbury.

Mr Shaw, who was among them, said: “I have been so impressed by everyone and it is a remarkable thing to do to honour the crew.”

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Image copyright
RAFA

Image caption

The memorial sits below the crash site on the Montgo mountain above Denia

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