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Pembrokeshire Aviation Group
The Pembrokeshire Aviation Group has been in existence since 1984. The four founder members came together specifically to research the the story of Consolidated Liberator EV881 of No 547 Squadron, RAF Coastal command, and its nine man crew and to place a memorial on the crash site in the Preseli Hills.
Special events were held in September 1984 to mark the 40th Anniversary and a plaque was subsequently place on the site. The group returns annually to the site every September and a small memorial service is held.
Since then the group has remained very active and has been involved in several other commemorations. Links has also been developed with RAF Squadrons and group associations. The Group has also forged contacts with many individuals throughout the UK and internationally.
The group has an enthusiastic membership (65+ members) and meets monthly on the second Tuesday of every month. Meeting normally commence at 7.30pm and are normally held at Sunderland House, The Royal Dockyard, Pembroke Dock. During the summer months outdoor visits are arranged to various aviation sites- airfield tours, museums and to other areas of local aviation interest.
Visitors to Withybush airfield will find two interesting local aviation artefacts outside the terminal building which were placed there by the Pembrokeshire Aviation group.
A large section of a “Bouncing bomb”, designed by the famous inventor Barnes Wallis, is displayed on a cradle near the entrances to the café. This fragment is from one of several bombs that were dropped from RAF Mosquito bombers onto the disused railway tunnels near Maeclochog in October 1943, during the “High Ball” trials/experiment. This fragment was recovered by the group with the help of local railway historian John Gale.
Alongside the bomb display is a three bladed propeller believed to be from a RAF Lysander which came down in the sea off Abereiddi, North Pembrokeshire. This propeller was rescued from the scrap heap, and was found in a local scrap mans yard!
Both displays were kindly restored for exhibit by Texaco Refinery, Pembroke.
The Group was recently involved with researching the crash of USAAF Consolidated B-24D 4123771. The aircraft crash landed after running low on fuel after a raid on the submarine pens at St Narzaire, Northern France. A navigation error forced the bombers off course, They then found themselves overhead Pembrokeshire with very little fuel remaining and in fading daylight. Many aircraft in the formation found safe haven at the various wartime airfields around Pembrokeshire but 4123771 was unlucky. With only two engines running the aircraft forced landed at New house cross , Puncherston. Sadly the young American co-pilot, Lieutenant Dale Canfield, was killed in the landing and others crew members were seriously injured.
http://www.greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROHJF43.pdf--In Addition.. (December 2010)
Further to this original posting we have been contacted by a reader who has passed on the following history. A rather interesting account indeed. Thanks Chris.
My Mother and Father and I were living in Parc-y-lyn at the time which is 0.4 miles from the site. I was 4 years of age. And from what I gleaned from my Mother years later was the following. There was a knock on the door from one of the airman asking for help they took blankets and other things and went up to the crash site to find carnage with airman laid out on the field also one on the top of part of the plane with a gun as he was guarding secret bomb sites.The next stage of the story involves my Mother cooking and providing accommodation to the US Airforce and British army sleeping on palyasses while they dismantled the plane over the next week. I apparently went up to the site with the solders to change guard !! with a piece of stick over my shoulder. One of the seats from the plane was used in our kitchen by our Airedale dog as a bed later. There was also was a prop at a garage in Puncheston.
A memorial stone has now been erected on the site and plaque was placed on the face of the monument and this was unvailed on the 10th April 2010.
The event saw a large crowd gather at the crash site, The Royal British legion provided standards for the service while the US embassy was represented by Major Prior of the US Army.
New members and guests are very welcome to attend any PAG meetings.
For more information on the group activities and meetings please contact Shaun Bowman-Davies 01646 601861
Monthly Routine Orders 2012
PAG monthy meetings
June 12th 2012
D Day Veterans, Gordon Prime and Gerry Price will be providing a talk on the their experiences during the D Day landings in 1944.
Meeting at Withybush Spitfire building at 19.30hrs
July 10th 2012
LITTLE NEWCASTLE REUNION, Meet at Withybush at 19.00 hrs to then travel the Little Newcastle to visit the crash site of B-24 "123771". The group will meet with members of the village who help plan the 2010 memorial.
August 14th 2012
Templeton Airfield guided walkabout and talk', Meet at St Thomas Church (opp Airfield entrance) on Templeton roadat 19.00hrs
Sept 11th 2012
Visit to Simon Pugh WW2 Museum at Laugharne at 19.30 hrs meet at Church carpark
Oct 9th 2012
John Evans will be providing a talk about the progress of the Haven Sunderland project.