Plane crash victims remembered at wreath-laying ceremony in Rustington

Lives lost in a wartime aircraft crash were remembered in Rustington with the annual wreath laying at the Chaucery Memorial.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 10:25 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 10:30 am

Members of the Chaucery Memorial Group organise the ceremony each year to mark the anniversary of the RAF Mosquito crash on Saturday, February 17, 1945.

Among the 36 attending this year, the 74th anniversary, were Littlehampton RAF Association, Littlehampton Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club and residents.

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An annual wreath laying ceremony is held each year on February 17 at midday

The memorial garden is in Chaucer Avenue, where four bungalows were hit as the plane came down and caught fire. The pilot, Wing Commander William Hudson Maguire, navigator Flight Lieutenant Denis Strickland Lake and three residents, Arthur Foster, 57, Florence Ward, 50, and Edward Vincent, 63, were killed.

Bill Kelsey, chairman of the Chaucery Memorial Group, said: “The Littlehampton RAF Association’s branch standard was paraded very smartly by Air Cadet Hannah Mays, of 1087 (Arun Valley) Squadron, with Royal Air Force cadets, with Ian Buckland, carrying the standard of the Littlehampton Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club.”

Wreaths were laid by Mr Kelsey and an ex-Royal Marine, nicknamed ‘Pitbull’, from the breakfast club, then a single red rose was laid by Dawn Claydon, on behalf of the navigator`s family.

The Chaucery Memorial and Garden, opposite 50 Chaucer Avenue, was officially opened on the 65th anniversary, February 17, 2010, by Canon Brian Maguire, the son of the pilot, and Simon Lake, a nephew of the navigator.