War memorial planned for Lancaster bomber crew

The memorial at Graveley recognises the men of 35 Squadron.

The memorial at Graveley recognises the men of 35 Squadron. - Credit: HUNTS POST

A memorial to an RAF bomber crew killed near the end of the Second World War would complement other memorials at Holy Trinity Church, Great Paxton, planners have said.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District council approved an application to install the granite memorial at the Grade I listed church.

The memorial is dedicated to the crew of the Lancaster bomber from 35 Squadron which crashed shortly after taking off from nearby RAF Graveley, killing all seven men, aged 21-24, on board.

Standing just over six feet tall and featuring an RAF eagle, the memorial is the brainchild of a local history group and the parish council has supported the application.

It will be built from granite from a Cornish quarry close to the one which provided the stone for the village’s existing war memorial a century ago and would be sited close the original memorial.

A report by district council planners said: “In this case the proposal is for a World War II Memorial located within the churchyard of a Grade I listed church and within the setting of other memorials."

A heritage statement submitted with the application said the memorial’s proposed location was around 25 yards from the entrance to the church.

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“It would not be visible from the church entrance as there is a very mature Yew bush in the view line,” the report said.

“The area around the new memorial already has gravestones and a war memorial to villagers who fell in the two world wars. 

There is a small memorial to the men of 35 Squadron in the village of Graveley at the entrance of what was the old airfield.

In 1941, an area of 106 acres, which straddles the border with Offord Darcy was requisitioned by the Government to build Graveley airfield and was used by bomber squadrons until the end of the Second World War. 

The airfield closed in 1946 but reopened in the late fifties as a relief airstrip for Oakington barracks. The land returned to agricultural use in 1967 and is now the site for the Cotton Wind Farm.