Black Country Bugle
New streets named for aircrew victims of crashed bomber
THE crew of a Lancaster bomber that crashed during the Second World War in Wednesfield have been immortalised on a new housing development.
The streets of the new development ‘The Marches’, Lakefield Road, Wednesfield, have been named in honour of the crew of the plane that crashed nearby, killing everyone on board.
The roads on the site pay tribute to the memories of Lancaster pilot Bernard Hall, flight engineer Ronald James O’donnell, navigator Reginald Henry Smith, air bomber Victor Francis Dobell Meade, wireless operator Gordon Leonard Rabbetts and air gunners Vincent Reginald Woodburn and John
Operating out of East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, the plane came down after developing engine trouble on the evening of May 17, 1945, nine days after VE Day.
Ray Fellows, founder of the Wednesfield History Society, said: “With the Lancaster Memorial and now the newly built roads on the Marches Estate being named after the crew of the Lancaster, together they give us a lasting piece of history that will never be forgotten.”
Members of the crewmen’s family, ward councillors and the Wednesfield History Society attended a memorial event at the site. Barry Meade, the son of air bomber Victor Meade, unveiled the street name ‘Victor Meade Drive’ in honour of his late father.
Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal said: “This is a fitting tribute to those heroes who defended our nation. It is an honour to be able to keep their memory alive at The Marches, ensuring their service and commitment to duty will not be forgotten.”
Wednesfield History Society was formed by Ray Fellows and Simon Hamilton in 2009. It has been hosting history talks bi-monthly on a variety of topics on Wednesfield’s yesteryears and activity work to capture and preserve the history of Wednesfield Village. For more information, log on at www. wednesfieldhistory.org