This memorial commemorates the crew who died during flights performed from airbase RAF Downham Market. A great honor goes to the Victoria Cross awarded: Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron and Squadron Leader Ian Willoughby Bazalgette.
The first Victoria Cross award was awarded to Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron, during a raid to Turin on 12 August 1943, Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron got seriously injured. However, he fought to the end to set the heavily damaged aircraft safely on to the ground. He first tried with all his strength to gain control. Afterwards when he failed doing this, he instructed the bomb aimer who had taken control of the aircraft. The force required for this was probably fatal, he died nine hours after the aircraft was on the ground from exhaustion. The courage, determination and leadership to do this, just as he was on the brink of death, delivered him the Victoria Cross award.
The second Victoria Cross award was awarded on August 4, 1944, to the Canadian Squadron Leader Ian Willoughby Bazalgette. During a raid on the French town Trossy St.Maximin, the aircraft where they were in caught fire after being hit by Flak guns. Despite the burning of the aircraft and the fact that the bomb aimer had been hit during the shelling, Bazalgette managed to complete the mission. After the bombs were dropped on the target, the plane was set adrift. Bazalgette again managed to gain control of the aircraft but after the failure of an engine he ordered everyone who could leave the aircraft to bale out. The wounded bomb aimer and air gunner remained in the aircraft. Bazalgette managed to safe land the aircraft, however, it exploded on the ground. The three crew members, including Bazalgette got killed in the blast.
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- Text: TracesOfWar.nl
- Photos: Evelyn Simak
- FREEMAN, R.A., Bases of Bomber Command Then and Now, After the Battle, London, 2001.
- HILLING, J.B., Strike Hard, A Bomber Airfield at War, Alan Sutton Publishing, Ltd., Phoenix Mill, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 1997.