Never forget fallen Barking war hero

WHEN Lady Helen Nall was given a metal detector for Christmas she never dreamed it would open up a hidden history of a brave WWII Barking airman and his Lancaster bomber. In January this year she was testing out her new present in the fields near her Hove

WHEN Lady Helen Nall was given a metal detector for Christmas she never dreamed it would open up a hidden history of a brave WWII Barking airman and his Lancaster bomber.

In January this year she was testing out her new present in the fields near her Hoveringham Hall home in Nottinghamshire, with her brother, Douglas Fergusson.

It was lucky he was there because, being an RAF pilot for eight years, Douglas was able to identify an old piece of scrap metal as aircraft alloy.

Lady Nall said: "I would have been none the wiser about what the piece of metal was that my metal detector found.


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"To me, it looked like a mangled old coca-cola can.

"We certainly had no idea of any Lancaster bombers having crashed here."

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Some research uncovered the tragic history of the RAF Lancaster JB125 from Coningsby, which crashed in flames during World War II killing all on board.

Among them was Patrick Browne, a young Barking lad, who had joined the war effort.

He was a flight engineer on board a flight to RAF Syverston, Nottinghamshire, which was completing a training exercise on that fateful night in 1945.

It was the depths of winter, January 12, when the plane lost height as it banked and crashed into fields near Hoveringham.

The Lancaster exploded and all on board were killed, including Patrick Joseph Browne, just 20-years-old.

Patrick was buried in Rippleside Cemetery, Ripple Road, Barking, on January 19 1945.

As a result of her discovery, Lady Nall has been in touch with over half the families of the 14 airmen who died that night.

She said: "It is important that the young airmen are remembered.

"In many instances their siblings are still alive, not to mention cousins and friends.

"There are numerous people in our village who recall the Lancaster crashing and tried to help the crew, who had sadly already perished."

Lady Nall and several other Hoveringham residents want to erect a memorial at the spot where these brave souls lost their lives and a Service of Dedication is planned for the summer of 2010.

She wishes to trace any of Patrick Browne's family and friends who still live in Barking and Dagenham or the surrounding area.

Please contact Lady Helen Nall fergusson.art@btopenworld.com or call the POST news-desk on 0208 477 3778.

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