OAKWORTH residents and civic dignitaries gathered on Sunday to remember Canadian airmen who died in a plane crash during the Second World War.

The annual memorial ceremony was held at the crash site off Tewitt Lane, above Oakworth, with around 100 people in attendance.

The Rev Bryony Partridge, associate minister at Christ Church in Oakworth, led a service of remembrance for the six men who died when their Wellington bomber crashed into the hill on a training flight.

An official Canadian presence was provided by Travis Chapman, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s liaison officer in the UK, who went along with his family.

He joined Richard Jackson, the county’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant, and politicians including Keighley’s new MP Robbie Moore, Keighley town mayor Cllr Peter Corkindale, and district councillors Russell Brown and Rebecca Poulsen.

Several of them laid wreaths, along with John Sugden of Oakworth Village Society, Inspector Khalid Khan from Keighley police, the Royal British Legion, and Keighley air cadets.

Judith Hales played the Last Post and Reveille as well as accompanying people who sang Abide With Me. There was a minute’s silence in memory of the Wellington crew.

After the service, people were invited to Oakworth Community Hall where Oakworth Community Trust provided refreshments. Organisation of the ceremony is each year overseen by Oakworth Village Society.

Society spokesman Janet Armstrong said: “There were about 100 people who attended this year. I think it’s important to a lot of people in the village. They find it good to go along to the ceremony.

“There are people who attended the dedication of the memorial stone in 1994, who are now bringing their children.”

Mrs Armstrong praised cadets from Keighley’s Air Training Corps squadron who in recent weeks have tidied up the memorial site in readiness for the ceremony.

“I get a lot of leaf mould which makes the ground very soppy and squelchy. They cleared away a lot of the leaves.”

Worth Valley ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen said: “Thanks to everyone who came to the Tewitt Remembrance service today and to the Oakworth Village Society for all the event organisation.”

The Wellington was taking part in a training flight in January 2, 1944 when it crashed near the Grouse pub, which is on the road from Oakworth towards Colne.

The Royal Canadian Air Force lost six per cent of its total personnel during the Second World War. The Canadian No 6 Bomber Group, based in Yorkshire, carried out more than 40,000 sorties, and 8,000 decorations for bravery were awarded.

The airmen who died in the Oakworth crash were Norman Crawford, James Dalling, Ernest Glass - the warrant officer who piloted the plane - Jack Henfrey, James McHenry and Emery Savage.

In 2017 military historians from Keighley’s Men of Worth Project uncovered pictures of all six men, after spending several years researching the lives of the young Canadians.

Pictures by Andy Wade.