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50th Rededication Service

6th May 2012

Conducted by Father P.J. Smith

50 years, half a century, is perhaps a good time end.

While there may be other memorials held in the future, the original organisers do not intend to arrange another.

We feel that closure has been achieved, as far as it can be with an accident like this - and that there seems no useful purpose in raising emotions and stirring thoughts again.  It is time to let the matter rest and for memories of that awful day and loved ones lost,  to ease. Those involved can never forget, and neither should they, but as Father PJ said in his address, the memorial is now a place where we can remember those involved with love and not a place to focus on the grief and sadness of their passing.

Its been a fascinating journey, harrowing, yet enlightening,.  The tale of courage, sadness, integrity and resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity while the story of the last flight slowly emerged from the haze that obscured actions of an Aviation Ministry and Airline who perhaps had much to gain by blaming the Captain and hoping the matter would soon be forgotten. Some parts of the story may never be told in full and perhaps it would serve no useful purpose after so many years, but it has been a great privilege to be able to look again at the circumstances and reach the decision, albeit from an amateur viewpoint, that the Captain was unjustly blamed .

It just remains for me to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation of a physical memorial on St Boniface Down, especially all the relatives and survivors, the huge contribution from Mike & Wendy Durant, Bill Woolstencroft in Canada, Roger Bunney who has shared the work but not the credit, and of course my long suffering wife, Gill, without whom this project would never have got off the ground.

While we will continue to maintain and update the website as new and relevant information comes to light and as always welcome any comments, memories of photographs, it is time to let that awful day recede into history.  It has been a huge privilege to be involved with the memorial and to meet and correspond with everyone who has been associated with it. Hopefully that will long continue, but the physical aspect of an onsite memorial has reached its natural conclusion.

The plinth belongs to the National Trust who look after it on a day to day basis and without their help none of this could have been achieved.  It gives a great sense of achievement to see walkers and visitors pause and read the plaque and then reflect for a moment on what happened all those years ago.  

Those involved will not be forgotten as the years pass, and while sadness may be dulled by time, their memory will remain bright on that lovely hillside with the wind in the gorse and the blue water of the English Channel as far as the eye can see.

I wish you all a safe onward flight.

Ross Floyd

Almost 40 people turned out to pay their respects, including relatives of two of the crew, the family of the rescuer, the late Ted Price, and one of the ambulance drivers who ferried the injured to hospital. Many people made great efforts to get to the 50th memorial.

It was an extremely moving but simple service conducted by Father 'PJ' with contributions by close relatives and flowers from as far away as Canada and Jersey.  The names of all those on the plane were read out and prayers said for everyone involved.  A silence was held for all those present to reflect and we all paused again at 2.29 pm to remember, exactly 50 years after the accident.