DOZENS of people gathered today for a poignant service in memory of six Canadian airmen killed during a Second World War training mission.

The Royal Canadian Air Force crew died when its Wellington bomber crashed in fog on the hillside above Oakworth.

This afternoon, at the same spot almost exactly 75 years since the tragedy, people of all ages – ordinary members of the public and dignitaries – stood shoulder to shoulder in remembrance.

They congregated for a service organised annually by Oakworth Village Society since the installation of a special memorial stone at the Tewitt Lane site just over a quarter of a century ago.

Among those present was Canadian Air Force advisor, Colonel Darcy Molstad, who voiced his gratitude that the sacrifice of the airmen was not forgotten.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has taken time to pay their respects to these young men – it's very humbling," he said.

"We are so grateful for this beautiful memorial and service and for the fact the airmen's memory is being kept alive.

"Of the 55,000-plus air crew from Bomber Command who lost their lives during the Second World War, more than 10,000 were Canadians.

"And many of those who died were actually killed during training missions – they were extremely dangerous.

"These six young men would know exactly how risky it was.

"Their sacrifice while training was no less important than that of those killed in combat missions, and indeed their sacrifice would motivate others to take the fight to the enemy and 'do it for them'.

"Much has changed over the last 75 years and aviation has become considerably safer, but it's not without risks even today. We still have aviators who perish in training."

Other guests at the service included the High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Richard Jackson, Keighley MP John Grogan, the Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Zafar Ali and police inspector Khalid Khan.

And also present were representatives of the Royal British Legion, councillors, air cadets and the Men of Worth Project, which researched the lives of the airmen.

A welcome was given by Mrs Janet Armstrong, from the village society.

The service – conducted by the Rev Bryony Partridge – included prayers, a reading and the laying of wreaths.

A bugler played the Last Post, and a minute's silence was observed.

Abide with Me was sung at the close.

Following the service, afternoon tea was provided at Oakworth's village hall.

The tea was staged by the community trust, with funding obtained by town councillor Peter Corkindale.

Some of the food was donated by Cllr Chris Herd.