2021 Wellington Bomber commemorative service and village gala cancelled

Published on: Wednesday, 7th April 2021
Image credit: TheOther Kev from Pexels

Although there are signs that the impact of the pandemic might be easing, as the roadmap continues alongside the vaccination programme, a level of uncertainty has led to an annual memorial service and village gala being cancelled.

Organisers of the Stanley Wellington Bomber commemorative service and the Stanley Village Gala have taken the decision not to hold the event this year which had been scheduled for 4th July.

A World War 2 aircraft - a Spitfire from the RAF Tattershall-based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight - has regularly been seen in the area with the pilot performing a memorial flypast over the scene where a Wellington Bomber crashed on 12th July 1942.  The flypast is held in memory of five men who died in the Bomber.  

The Wellington W5795 was on a secret experimental flight from Boscombe Down to Blackpool when it came down on a field in Stanley.  The men were flying at around 35,000ft as part of a trial to establish whether it was possible to fly over the top of German fighters when a propeller sheared off, tearing into cabin, causing the crash to occur.

Ex-serviceman Terry Hall witnessed the crash as a boy, along with church warden Bernard Walters. Both commissioned a memorial to honour Sqn Ldr Cyril Colmore (29), Pilot Officer Kenneth Radford (27), Flt Sgt Ronald Gillott (22), Flt Sgt Arthur Smith DFM (23), and Clifford Abbott BSc - Civilian Technical Observer (23).

A service, attended by relatives, often with a themed parade, has been held annually for a number of years, with the fly-past only ever cancelled due to weather conditions, but the impact of the pandemic led to the cancellation of events in both 2020 and now 2021.

Expressing regret, and speaking on behalf of the organising committee, Mr. Hall said: "In conjunction with the Community Hall Committee, Stanley Gala Event Committee, MOSVT and families of the crew of the bomber, the decision has been taken to cancel 2021 plans."

He added that the hope was that the Gala could be combined with another commemorative event on 2nd July 2022 for what will be the 80th anniversary of the loss of the crew.

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