VIDEO: War time air crew honour dead in Ivinghoe

Weekend of events to mark USAF bomber crash.

TWO survivors from a American World War Two B24 Liberator bomber that crashed at Ford End Farm, Ivinghoe 60 years ago were special guests at a memorial ceremony on the site that was attended by more than 500 people

Pilot 1st Lt Norman Landberg was uninjured, but two of his closest friends, navigator, 2nd Lt Walter S Lamson, and Gunner Pfc Leonard L Smith were killed, and other crew members suffered injuries.

Mr Landberg from New York, accompanied by his son Chris, and tail-gunner George Eberwine from Philedelphia and his daughter Rosemary arrived at the memorial site in a magnificent 1939 Chrysler staff car.

In the 1990s, Chas Jellis, whose family have owned the farm for four generations, had his curiosity about the crash sparked when his late cousin Richard came in with a handful of live rounds which he had found in the field.

Chas found more pieces of wreckage ploughed into the ground, and decided to find out more about the aircraft and her crew.

His investigations led to him tracking down and meeting former crew members and their families. It culminated in a full weekend commemorating the incident and the gallant crew, kicking off from Ivinghoe Town Hall with a visit to Cheddington Air Base.

In the evening there was a 1940s dance in Ivinghoe Town Hall.

The ceremony dedicating and unveiling the memorial took place a day later.

USAF commanders from Waddington and Alconbury, and RAF Wing commanders from RAF Halton laid wreaths. USAF Chaplain David Savala gave a sermon, as did local vicar Tracey Doyle.

WW2 re-enactors, dressed in original uniforms, came from all over Britain to attend the event.

They included a B24 "ghost crew" of 10 airmen wearing original flight gear, who stood in a line with heads bowed on the grassy bank behind the memorial.

Chas concluded the ceremony by reading out a letter he had received from HRH The Prince of Wales, in which the Prince thanked B24 crew and all the military personnel who fought for the allies in WW2 and also showed his appreciation for the memorial.

There was also a special thank you to Joe Marling for all his support and enthusiasm for the project.

The weekend rounded off with a visit to the US War Cemetery at Madingley in Cambridgeshire, where the veterans visited the graves of Walter Lamson and Leonard Smith, their comrades who are buried side by side, before going on to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford to see a B24 Liberator in the American hangar.

Chas Jellis, who masterminded the whole weekend and created the memorial, said: "I just wanted to show these very special people that we really do mean business when we honour the airmen who paid the ultimate price for our freedom."

Before flying home, Norman Landberg visited the crash site, where he found two pieces of wreckage which have now travelled back to New York with him.