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Spanish memorial event for tragic Shropshire crew

By Toby Neal | Shrewsbury | Features | Published:

Representatives from RAF Shawbury are to fly out to Spain to attend a ceremony to dedicate a memorial which remembers a crew from the Shropshire air base who died when their plane crashed into a Spanish mountain nearly 70 years ago.

All seven aboard the Wellington bomber were killed when the aircraft hit the mountain on the Costa Blanca on December 5, 1950, while on a long distance navigation exercise.

Three of the victims were Aircraftsmen who were not part of the official crew, and are thought either to have been on a navigation course, or were simply going along for the ride.

The ceremony on December 5, the exact anniversary of the crash, is the successful culmination of a project by the North Costa Blanca branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, which set out to research the tragedy, create a memorial overlooking the crash site, and trace relatives of the victims.

The aircraft was from the Central Navigation and Control School at RAF Shawbury, and was part of a formation en route to Gibraltar, but crashed onto the Montgo mountain, near the town of Denia.

Members of several of the families will be attending, and in advance of the ceremony relatives of two of the victims were visiting RAF Shawbury on Thursday, November 28.

Warrant Officer Nick Williams from the base said: "With the aircraft having originated from here, we invited all five of the families that they managed to track down, and two are coming to Shawbury to see where the crew came from."

Nick will be one of three representatives from the Shropshire air base to attend the ceremony, along with local British and Spanish officials, and others including members of the local branch of the RAFA.

The victims that day nearly 70 years ago were pilot Flight Lieutenant Leonard West, Master Navigator Peter Pullar DFM, Flight Lieutenant Robert Baker, Flight Sergeant Ernest Hansom, Aircraftsman Neville Jones, Aircraftsman Roy Ouseley, and Aircraftsman Peter Field Thorne.

Members of the Hansom and Ouseley families were due at RAF Shawbury on November 28 where they were being given a tour and having lunch.

The brick and granite memorial is in the shape of a flat-topped pyramid, and the structure is encased in a metal lattice framework, paying tribute to the geodesic structural framework of the Wellington aircraft.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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