Museum hosts cousin’s visit
A relative of an airman killed in a plane crash during World War II has visited a local museum to find out more about the tragedy.
Mike Sully travelled from Wales on Wednesday to visit the Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum at West Walton which is home to artefacts from the crashed Wellington bomber, which came down over Feltwell during an aborted mission to Holland.
His cousin Evan Evans was among the five crewmen killed outright when the plane dived vertically to the ground at Larmans Fen, Feltwell.
A sixth crew member – the rear gunner – survived the impact and miraculously recovered from his injuries only to die later on another mission to Holland.
Bill Welbourne, secretary of the museum, was among those to play host to Mike during his morning-long visit.
He said: “He was delighted to be able to learn more about what happened to his cousin and to see the plane’s propeller which we have here at the museum.”
Museum members excavated the crash site in 1978 and recovered and restored the propeller, which was 14ft in the earth.
Bill explained Evan Evans, a Flight Sgt, and the rest of the crew were relatively inexperienced and whilst other members of their 57 Squadron took off for a bombing raid over Essen in Germany, they were sent to Gilzerijen in Holland, which was considered an easier target for them to gain more experience.
Unfortunately the plane got into difficulties shortly after take-off and Bill said it was seen flying low returning to Feltwell air base before plummeting nose down to the ground.
“It’s difficult to know what actually went wrong but the records speculate it was instrument failure.
“The trouble was they were a fairly new crew and probably didn’t have the experience to deal with the problem.
“There would not have been time for them to bail out before the plan crashed,” he said.
Mike spent several hours touring the museum and learning about his cousin and his fellow crew members.
“He found it really interesting and was pleased to be able to see artefacts linked to his cousin,” added Bill.
The museum regularly plays host to relatives of airmen killed in plane crashes in this area and Bill said: “It is always nice to be able to talk to families about their relatives and show them items linked to them – sometimes it is the only tangible link left.”