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Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust Launches Fundraiser for Lancaster Bomber Memorial

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Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust announces the launch of a fundraiser to commemorate the tragic event of Thursday 26th April, 1945, when a Lancaster bomber crashed near Delapré Abbey, resulting in the loss of five lives.

At 16:55hrs on that fateful day, a Lancaster bomber, flying low just south of Northampton, tragically struck a tree while banking steeply to avoid cables. The aircraft crashed on farmland close to Delapré Abbey, where the lake now resides. Of the seven crew members, only two RAF air gunners survived.

The families of the fallen airmen, along with Trust volunteers who have diligently researched and raised awareness of this significant event, have requested the creation of a memorial near Delapré Lake to honour the memory of those who lost their lives.

In response, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust has launched a fundraiser to gather funds for the memorial. Every donation will contribute to the realisation of this memorial and honour the bravery and sacrifice of those who served.

We are deeply grateful for every donation,” said Eleanor Sier, Head of Engagement and Interpretation, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust. “This memorial will stand as a testament to the courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives and serve as a reminder of the cost of freedom.”

The crew members who died were:
• Flg Off (Pilot) Cedric John Evans, RNZAF, 22
• Flt Sgt (Nav) Thomas Richard Thwaite, RNZAF, 20
• Sgt (Flt Engr) Denis Harold Millichamp, RAFVR, 21
• Flt Sgt (Air Bomber) Ralph Franklin Carrodus RNZAF, 23
• Flt Sgt (W.Op/Air Gnr) Ian James Loveridge RNZAF, 24.

Surviving crew members were Sgt E.R. McRae RAF (Mid Upper Gunner) and Sgt G.A. Fuller RAF (Rear Gunner).

The Lancaster bomber, part of Operation Exodus, a 12-day airlift to repatriate British prisoners of war, was returning from transporting prisoners from Brussels to an RAF base near Aylesbury. The crash occurred just 15 minutes into its flight home.
Albert Brown and Harry Richardson, two local farm workers, were awarded the British Empire Medal for their courageous efforts in trying to save the airmen.

For more information and to make a donation, please visit our dedicated fundraiser page here.

Images kindly loaned by the families of Ian Loveridge and Ted McRae.