WW2 American crew honoured in special ceremony

This month's Remembrance Day ceremonies were especially poignant, with special tributes paid to the crew of an American warplane who sacrificed their lives to avoid crashing into a residential area of High Wycombe. 

On the morning of 12 August 1944, the Boeing B17-G Flying Fortress ‘Tomahawk Warrior’ which was on its 25th mission to France, deliberately crash landed in a field in Penn killing all nine crew on board. The plane had been spotted in trouble over a built-up area of High Wycombe with two engines on fire. Pilot and captain Charles Searl desperately sought out an area of open land away from the densely populated area as the full bomb load the plane was carrying would have caused a massive loss of life if it crashed there. Searl managed to steer the plane away from the residential area of High Wycombe, narrowly missing the Lude Farm farmhouse in Penn and crashed in the open fields beyond. All nine crew were killed instantly but there were no casualties on the ground.

At a ceremony at Penn House on Remembrance Sunday, Councillor Brian Roberts, Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council, presented three ceremonial scrolls, one to the nieces of one of the fallen crew, one to Penn Parish Council and one to David Huntley, who personally witnessed the incident and was the inspiration behind the ceremony.

Wreaths were laid and two minutes silence was observed across the whole county to remember all of those who lost their lives in past and current conflicts.

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