Sywell Aviation Museum News
Dedication of Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial
9th November 2014
At 1.35 pm on the 29th June 1944, a Blackpool-built Vickers Wellington B.III bomber, serial number HF641, of 22 Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, Warwickshire on a navigation exercise. On board were its crew of six men from the Royal Canadian Air Force: F/O R J Andrews, Sgt W H Clark, Sgt A H MacKimmie, Sgt J B Sollie, P/O C E Stephen and F/O P W Tokar.
It was a gloomy, thundery, dark foreboding late afternoon. One of Roade's residents, then aged seven, was playing shove-ha'penny with her brother on the window ledge and looking out directly over the open fields beyond.
The aircraft encountered turbulence and eventually entered a thunderstorm. At 5.20 pm the aircraft was struck by lightning and disintegrated over Roade. Suddenly, the sky was full of falling debris and then came the deafening bang. The little girl's father, who had experienced bombs falling in the London Blitz, thought it was a buzz bomb and the family dove beneath the table. However, when it became apparent that the village was not under enemy attack, father and son ran over to the field to see what they could do to help. The remains of the aircraft were spread over a wide area.
The all-Canadian crew were interred at Brookwood Cemetery, near Pirbright, Surrey. Very few villagers remember this tragic event 70 years ago but these young men (one just 18 years old) gave their lives for the same cause as Roade's own boys and this memorial ensures that their ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Roade Local History Society arranged for the memorial to be installed with the help of generous donations from Roade Parish Council and the Sywell Aviation Museum. It was unveiled on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November 2014, by a Representative of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Warrant Officer Dipen Mistry and dedicated by the Rt Revd John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth, following a Remembrance Service.