Plane Crashes during World War II

There is a tendency to believe that the only drama in our villages during World War II was the tragic bombing of Long Marston School.

But the story of the plane crashes in the vicinity is also dramatic. Here are some interesting facts:

Pat Carty, the author and researcher who has told us so much about Cheddington Airfield during the war, first became interested when he found out that the had been 170 – yes 170 – aircraft crashes in Buckinghamshire alone since war broke out.

The RAF stopped using the Airfield because there were too many hills and obstructions which made taking off and landing a dangerous exercise. But this didn’t stop our government handing it over to the US Airforce who claimed to have made safety improvements.

Pat Carty’s book – Secret Squadrons of the Eighth – contains a picture of Aylesbury Fire Brigade helping to clear the wreckage of a crashed American plane.

In 1945, Neal Dean, ten years old at the time, recalls rushing with a friend towards an explosion in the middle of a Long Marston field with ‘bullets flying all over the place’. The fire brigade soon arrived and moved him to safety.

In the same year, Don Winfield, fourteen years old, heard a bang and ran down Chapel Lane, across the brook to a crashed plane in the middle of another field. He remembers bullets flying around and the bodies of the pilots still in their seats.

Sources
Tring Rural Villages in the Twentieth Century by Jenny and Alan Warner, chapters 2, 3 and 6.
Tringruralhistory.co.uk, Book Review of Secret Squadrons of the Eighth by Pat Carty

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