Appeal to find relatives of Downham Market airmen ahead of memorial service

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A mayor is organising a memorial service to honour the sacrifice made by a bomber crew based in Downham.

The seven-man crew from the newly formed Pathfinders 635 Squadron took off in Lancaster ND820 on a training flight from RAF Downham Market on April 10, 1944, but sadly never came back.

The bomber ploughed into a field at Bicker, near Boston, Lincolnshire, and all sadly perished.

The bodies of six of the crew – Flt Sgts D.J Farrant, J.B Bannan and A.I.G Hunter, Sgts R.H.F Malthouse and J.W Nixon and Warrant Officer R.T. Lord, – were never recovered and their names are commemorated on the Runnymead Memorial to the Missing. The seventh man, Flying Officer T.F. Wilson was buried in Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.

A memorial now stands on the spot where the plane and the mayor of Boston, Paul Kenny, is holding a memorial service on Sunday, April 5, to mark the 70th anniversary.

But he is appealing for help in tracing the relatives of the crew.

Mr Kenny said: ““We know of only one of the families intending to be there on the 70th anniversary. It would be really good if more of the crew’s families could be represented.

“It is sadly poignant to attend the memorial site and realise that six of the crew are still out there in the fields.”

In 2009 the widow of Flt Sgt Bannan, together with three generations of her family, attended a memorial service at the site. He was just 24 at the time of his death. His widow was 90 when she visited the memorial just weeks after learning it existed. It was built by volunteers from the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group in 2004.

Relatives of the crew, or anyone who has information about them, can contact the memorial organiser, Stanley Naylor, phone 01205 722594 or email