British 1944 bomber crash site dug up to bring U.S. flight attendants home


A team of American veterans are digging up the field in Sussex, England, and a bomber crashed during World War II, finally trying to bring their fallen compatriots home.

In June 1944, two weeks after the Allied forces landed in France on D-Day, the B-24 Liberator belonged to a group that bombed near Paris, which was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire. It was.

Despite that condition, the pilot and crew managed to care for the aircraft to return to the British coast, but for unknown reasons it crashed in a peasant field near Arundel in West Sussex.

Seven of the Air Force soldiers on board managed to escape from the affected plane, but it is believed that three died after attempting an emergency landing.

Epoch Times Photo
An integrated B-24 Liberator depicting flight in the 1940s. (US Air Force / PA)

Seventy-seven years later, American veterans with the American Veterans Archaeological Restoration (AVAR) have worked with the University of York to retrieve human bodies from the crash site for repatriation to the United States.

AVAR CEO and project leader Stephen Humphreys said he hoped the mission would allow surviving families to stay home and give the team’s veterans the opportunity to develop archaeological skills.

A former US Air Force captain told PA News Agency: “We can’t give you much specific information about the aircraft, but it can be said that the aircraft crashed in a farmer’s field in 1944.

“The farmer is deeply interested in both the crash and the story of those airmen, and has preserved this site within the local community for the past 77 years, as this site is here for us to come. This recovery mission in 2021 was a big part of the.

“Therefore, our mission is to actually recover the bodies of military personnel lost when the aircraft crashed in 1944 and have them identified … and preferably close some families. I hope. “

Epoch Times Photo
Archaeologists and U.S. POW / MIA Treasurer staff to retrieve the bodies of American bomber crew members whose aircraft crashed on June 28, 2021 at a location in Arundel, Sussex, England, in 1944. Working at (GarethFuller / PA)

The bomber that crashed near Alandel was part of the 489th Bomb Group, which flew a B-24 Liberator from Suffolk’s RAF Halesworth for several months in 1944.

The group carried out tactical missions to support ground forces in northern France, including a saturated bombing before the Allied last breakthrough in Saint-Lo in July 1944.

The location of West Sussex, where the Liberator is believed to have crashed, is on a lush farmland less than a mile from Arundel Castle.

The dramatic event was witnessed by a boy who lived on a farm and ensured that the place was preserved for decades to come.

The aviator’s monument is on the edge of the field. A small souvenir of lost life marked with a flag studded with two stars.

During the four-week on-site excavation, the excavator removes the pile of soil from the wide ditch and carefully deposits it on a tarpaulin ready for inspection.

The team then carefully sifts the globe looking for something from the crash.

Epoch Times Photo
Archaeologists and U.S. POW / MIA Treasurer staff to retrieve the bodies of American bomber crew members whose aircraft crashed on June 28, 2021 at a location in Arundel, Sussex, England, in 1944. Working at (GarethFuller / PA)

Humphreys added: “Obviously this is a fairly traumatic crash site, but we are still trying to recover it because of the surviving human material and human bodies.

“And personal belongings, many items that would have been carried by those aviators at the time, they can help us identify where in the wreckage we might be able to find those wreckage. I will.

“It’s all about making the excavation details as accurate as possible, so that while we’re looking, we can say where those individual discoveries came from the ground. In terms of points, it can be as accurate as needed. For those airmen. “

This excavation is being carried out as part of the Operation Keeping Faith, a partnership between the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Office (DPAA) and the US Veterans Archaeological Reconstruction. The company gives veterans the opportunity to work in archaeological locations, gain experience and encourage them. mental health.

Humphreys said: “My team has a wide range of individuals from veterans who want to go out and do something cool or learn new skill sets, but already have an archeology degree. And some veterans do this. As a career, and of course, this is a great training for those pursuing that career. “

Michael Dramondo

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