American airmen remembered

PUBLISHED: 07:54 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 07 July 2010

AMERICAN airmen will be remembered in a Norfolk village this weekend as part of an unusual Remembrance Day ceremony.

AMERICAN airmen will be remembered in a Norfolk village this weekend as part of an unusual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Since 1920 the parish of Bridgham-with-Roudham, near Thetford, has celebrated the day with a list of the fallen from both villages.

This year, however, the list of the 25 local servicemen who died will be supplemented with the names of 33 men who all perished in a series of wartime crashes in Bridgham or Roudham.

Ten of these were American airmen who died in 1943 when their B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber crashed into the bank of the River Thet.

Minutes after take off from Snetterton Heath the plane clipped trees on Bridgham's Manor Farm, knocking off the tail gun turret. It then struck the river bank were it caught fire and exploded. All but one of the twelve 500lb bombs on board exploded and all ten crew died.

RAF Mildenhall will send an honour guard to take part in the service.

One man British man also died in 1941 in Roudham when the first ever Typhoon crashed, killing the pilot, and three years later a Lancaster bomber crashed in the same place, killing six airmen.

The Thetford and District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association will also be at the service in a tribute to 14 men who lost their lives in Roudham while serving with the RAF.

A further seven airmen, including four from Canada and one from America, died in world war one while based at the Harling Road Airfield. There were also two soldiers who were buried alive while digging in a Roudham chalk pit.

In all, there will be 33 additional names to be read out at the 3pm service on Sunday at Bridgham Church.

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