Wellington Memorial Stone, St Andrews Park: remembering lives lost and local bravery

Photo credit Dennis Broe

Our local area is filled with so much history, with many signs and reminders of the past.  One such reminder is the Wellington memorial stone located near the top of St Andrews Park.

The memorial stone marks the spot where, on the evening of 30th April 1940, an RAF Wellington bomber plane crashed, killing three of its six crew members.

The plane was on a training flight, and while flying, struck a cable of a barrage balloon over Purdown which became wrapped around the plane’s wing.  The plane continued flying in the direction of the park and hit one of the tall trees in St Andrews Park, slicing off its tail, and then crashed into the ground, breaking into two on impact and bursting into flames.  The bombs and ammunition which the plane was carrying started to explode following the initial impact.

Some local people ran to the crashed plane, bravely facing the fire and exploding incendiary, and rescued the three crew members who were still alive.  The rescuers included a local young police officer who actually entered the plane to do this.

The Wellington Memorial Stone was erected in 2009 and sits at the spot where the plane crashed, honouring the crew members who sadly died at the scene and those who rescued them.

Sadly, a few weeks ago the Wellington Memorial Stone was graffitied.  However, Micky, the St Andrews Park Keeper, and Dennis Broe, Friends of St Andrews Park volunteer and ex-serviceman, have both worked hard to restore the stone to its original condition and smarten it up.

First of all Micky carried out the arduous task of scrubbing off the graffiti.  Then Dennis used some slate oil which he had bought and buffed the stone up and then he cleared away the dead plants and brambles surrounding the stone.  Dennis plans to clean the stone and clear the area around it again before Remembrance Day next month.

The memorial stone now looks very smart and a fitting reminder of the event which occurred on that spring evening of 1941, marking three lives lost and the bravery of local people.

In memory of the crew of Wellington Bomber T2905
From RAF Bassingbourn that crashed here on the 30th April 1941
Pilot Officer Kenneth Evans, Sgt Thomas Lever and Sgt Charles Clarke died in the crash.
Flight Sgt Lawrence Houghton (pilot), Sgt John Jones and Sgt Richard Wish were injured.
Erected by the Friends of St Andrews Park.
In honour of the servicemen and the bravery of local people who rescued three of the crew.

(Inscription on stone).