A POIGNANT memorial service remembered a crash which killed six Royal Canadian Air Force crew in Oakworth during the Second World War.
A ceremony marked the 73nd anniversary of the death of the crew members who are died when their Wellington Bomber BK387, which crashed into Tewitt Hill near Oakworth in foggy conditions on January 2, 1944.
Those who died in the crash were Norman Crawford, James Dalling, Jack Henfrey, James McHenry, Emery Savage and pilot, Warrant Officer Ernest Israel Glass.
Around 90 residents, air cadets and dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid and members of the armed forces attended a service held on Sunday at the RCAF Air crash memorial stone on Tewitt Lane.
The service is organised every year by Oakworth Village Society, who led the service which included the hymn, Abide With Me, sung by the group, and also a playing of the Last Post.
Janet Armstrong, secretary of the Oakworth Village Society, said: “They died thousands of miles from home. They were so far from their own families.
“It was good to see all of the young people here at the service. We need them to realise what went on here and to remember too. We should remember all those who were injured, or died, in conflict too.”
Colonel Marc Bigaouette, Canadian Air Advisor, who represented the Royal Canadian Air Force at the service, said: “I think it is quite a privilege to represent the Canadian people here and across the UK.
“It is nice for the people of Canada to know that, 73 years on, the people are remembered. It proves that they did not die in vain.”
Colonel Bigaouette spoke about the strong connections between Canada and the UK both during the war and today.
He said it must have been a tremendously hard task to fly in the conditions of the night of the crash with very limited instruments.
Col Bigaouette spoke with Keighley Air Cadets, who formed the guard of honour during the ceremony, and praised Men of Worth Project volunteers’ recent research on the crew members.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford said: “It is an important event in the Oakworth community. This service has been part of their heritage since 1944.
“Even though it was a training mission, it was during wartime.
“It is so important for us to recognise the bravery of those six airmen who lost their lives.”
Keighley’s Men of Worth Project, which researches the war experiences of the town’s residents, has gathered information about each of the young Canadians who died in the crash.
Their findings, including photographs, were displayed during this year’s service.
During the ceremony, Jean Sugden spoke about Max Friebel, nephew of the Canadian pilot Ernest Israel Glass, and who came to visit and attend the ceremony many times. He had not been in recent years because of age and health, and he died last year.
Jean then laid a wreath in his memory alongside the wreaths for the crew members.