Memorial service and new book tell story of RAF bomber crash in Godmanchester

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 September 2017

The memorial service in Godmanchester on Sunday

The memorial service in Godmanchester on Sunday


A special memorial service was held in Godmanchester on Sunday to mark the 75th anniversary of an RAF bomber crash in the town.

Squadron leader Drummond Wilson Squadron leader Drummond Wilson

Relatives of the RAF bomber crew attended the service and among them were the family of a pilot officer whose heroics saved the life of the teenage co-pilot.

The aircraft, captained by Squadron Leader Drummond Wilson, was one of 18 Stirling bombers which were part of a raid on the German city of Essen on the night of the April 10/11 April, 1942. Over the city the crew were ‘coned’ by searchlights and badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire.

Drummond, and his co-pilot, 19-year-old Sgt David Southey, coaxed the stricken bomber back to RAF Alconbury. However with the wheels down on final approach they were ordered to go ‘around’ as there was an aircraft on the runway without permission.

As they flew over Godmanchester a damaged oil pipe broke, both starboard engines cut out and the plane came down in an area close to the A14/Cow Lane.

Roger Leivers new book Stirling to Esssen is available for order now. Roger Leivers new book Stirling to Esssen is available for order now.

Drummond and the Mid Upper Gunner, Sgt Edgar Gould, were killed. Of the six men who survived, three would not live to see the end of the war. The navigator, Flying Officer Clifford Reeve, went back into the burning aircraft to rescue two crew members despite being severely injured himself.

For his actions that day he was awarded a military MBE which he received from the King in December 1942 at Buckingham Palace.

The memorial service and a Flower for an Airman event was organised by Roger Leivers, a volunteer at the Porch Museum, in Godmanchester.

Roger has also written a book, Stirling to Essen, which tells the story of the tragedy, which he began researching five years ago.

“It was a remarkably success event and it was humbling that so many of the relatives were able to attend. We also had a Flower for an Airman’ event where locals could bring flowers down and find out about the memorial. I sold some more books and in total we raised £125 to go into the Godmanchester Stirling donation pot.”

The wreaths were then moved to St Mary’s churchyard, along with the flowers donated by the town.

Mr Leivers said he was captivated by the story behind the crash.

“I was asked by the museum to do some research and the more I looked into it, the more it started to unravel and I just got hooked. It was fascinating and the personal stories are so moving.”

Mr Leivers book is available on Amazon.

More news stories

Middlefield Primary Academy, in St Neots, has received a Royal Horticultural Society School gardening award.


A St Neots engineering and Construction Company is set to raise money for mental health charity.


Nearly 550 people have signed a petition calling for the opening of a link through a Huntingdon business park to create a second exit from the Hinchingbrooke area.


A jockey has been taken to Addenbrooke’s hospital with a head injury after a “horrible” fall at Huntingdon last night.

Most read stories

Local business directory

Cambridgeshire's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Hunts Post e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter