A weather-damaged memorial to the brave crew of a Second World War RAF bomber who died when it was shot down near Brafferton is being replaced – and it will be unveiled next month on the 73rd anniversary of the crash.
Halifax bomber NA612 fell victim to a German night fighter on 4 March 1945 and its crew of seven, all but one of whom were Canadian, were killed.
The condition of the original memorial plaques containing the names of the crew and a description of what happened, had deteriorated. Now, partly thanks to £500 from the locality budget of North Yorkshire County Councillor Peter Sowray, who represents the Easingwold division, a new granite plaque has been manufactured and will be unveiled at a ceremony on Sunday 4 March outside the church gates in Brafferton at 11.30am.
Locality budgets allow the 72 county councillors to respond to local needs and requests by recommending funding of up to £5,000 to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.
Nigel Denison, secretary of the Brafferton & Helperby War Memorial Committee, said: “The present plaques suffered unforseen weather damage and the money was raised for the new granite memorial which will last a lot longer. We are pleased to be able to unveil it on the 73rd anniversary of the crash.’’
The crash happened near the end of the war in the early hours of 4 March 1945. Halifax NA612 was returning from a bombing raid when it was attacked and shot down by a night fighter as it came in to land at Dishforth. It was set on fire and exploded as it hit the ground near Brafferton. The crew were aged between 19 and 27.
Cllr Sowray said: “The Halifax bomber memorial is located outside the church gates in a prominent position within the village and is passed on a daily basis by members of the
community. The memorial is also visited by people from outside the village as its existence has become more well known.
“The deterioration of the existing plaques did not present a fitting memorial
to the brave Canadian and British crewmen who died. The replacement granite plaque will provide a permanent and fitting memorial.’’