"Fitting tribute" to Preston airman killed in Second World War plane crash

Relatives of the airmen join in a memorial procession, along with dignitaries and members of the armed forces. Picture by Chris Silk
Relatives of the airmen join in a memorial procession, along with dignitaries and members of the armed forces. Picture by Chris Silk
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More than 80 people turned out for a special memorial service for eight airmen killed during the Second World War - including Ribbleton gunner William Cross.

Among those paying their respects were Preston Councillor John Browne, and William’s nephew Stanley Anderton, who was traced thanks to an appeal in the Post.

William Cross

William Cross

William was 22 when he died along with seven other RAF airmen when two North American B-25 planes collided in mid-air over West Sussex while returning from bombing factories in occupied France on January 7, 1944.

>>>Read more about the crash and memorial here

The service and siting of a memorial plaque were organised by Adam Tudor-Lane, whose great-uncle George Ormandy also died in the crash.

The 30-year-old said: “Everything went smoothly and I’m incredibly glad the day was as special and memorable as I’d hoped it would be for the last year.

“All the planning and sleepless nights worrying were worth it.

More than 80 people attended the memorial service. Photo by Chris Silk

More than 80 people attended the memorial service. Photo by Chris Silk

“It was amazing to have Stanley there, he also managed to meet Arthur Burns, the man who purchased Williams medal which Stanley had put up for auction a year or two ago.”

Ribbleton Councillor John Browne said: “It went very well. The service was in glorious sunshine.

“More than 80 people were there. People spoke very warmly about their dead relatives. One woman came all the way from New Zealand.

“It was a lovely celebration. After the service we went down to the site where one of the aircraft had landed.

The memorial plaque

The memorial plaque

“We also went to a museum where there were various thing about the crash.

It was really a good tribute to Mr Cross and others who died in unfortunate circumstances. A fitting tribute to the eight of them."