Rare car to visit Huntingdonshire to remember Godmanchester Second Wolrd War air crash victim

Squadron Leader Matthew Drummond Wilson driving his Squire racing car at a rally in Scotland

Squadron Leader Matthew Drummond Wilson driving his Squire racing car at a rally in Scotland - Credit: Archant

A PILOT who died in a Second World War plane crash at Godmanchester will be remembered when a rare car he owned visits the town.

Squadron leader Matthew Drummond Wilson was killed when his Stirling bomber came down in a field off Cow Lane in the early hours of April 11, 1942.

The aircraft had been damaged during a raid on the German city of Essen and was returning to RAF Wyton when an oil pipe broke and the plane lost power.

Gunner Sergeant Edward Gould also died while co-pilot Gunner Sergeant David Southey was in a coma for a month.

Another survivor, Flight Officer Clifford Reeve, received an MBE for dragging injured crew members to safety despite having dislocated ankles and a fractured vertebra.

Now, 71 years later, the pilot will be remembered in July when a Squire racing car which once belonged to him arrives in Godmanchester for the town’s annual gala day.

One of only seven built in the UK, the RAF officer drove it in rallies, including Monte Carlo.

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Its present owner was put in touch with Roger Leivers, of York Close, Godmanchester, a volunteer at the Porch Museum, who gives tours of the town telling of life during the world wars.

“I got an e-mail out of the blue from a guy asking if anyone knew where a Stirling bomber had crashed during the Second World War,” he said.

“He wanted to find out what we knew about the pilot, who also used to be a rally driver. He now owns the car, which is in pristine condition, and has agreed to bring it to the gala day.”

A small ceremony is planned in Cow Lane and relatives of Sqn Ldr Wilson have been invited.

There are also plans to raise funds to pay for a permanent memorial in Cow Lane to the pilot and his crew.

“We know roughly where it came down,” said Mr Leivers. “It would be really lovely to have something saying ‘On this site, on this day’ so we’ll be rattling some tins to raise money.”

INFORMATION: This year’s Godmanchester Gala Day is on Saturday, July 6. Mr Leivers will lead a walk on the First World War on Thursday, June 20, and he will pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the Second World War with walks on Thursday, June 27, and Wednesday, July 3. All the walks set off at 6.30pm and tickets are £3. To book, e-mail rogerleivers@yahoo.co.uk or call 01480 383460.