A town remembers airman who died to save others in war

THIS page will be of interest to everybody, I hope, but particularly to the people of New York, U.S.A. The picture shows the work that has been carried out on what is known in Nantwich as "the airman's grave". It is part of an initiative for sprucing up land on the banks of the River Weaver which flows through town.

   The consecrated site is cared for by the Nantwich branch of the Cheshire Regiment Association on behalf of a grateful town in memory of a brave American airman who lost his life in the Second World War as he struggled to bring his stricken Thunderbolt plane down away from Nantwich and so avoided causing the deaths of who knows how many Nantwich people, not to mention the damage it would have done.

   Or, at least that is the reason that the townspeople made the area a special place. But later information - supplied to "A Dabber's Nantwich" by the student who carried out research into the crash - suggests that the crash site might have been a matter of luck, rather than being aimed for by the pilot.

   The article - to be found here - says that he was suffering from anoxia (insufficient oxygen in his body tissues) at the height he was flying at the time, causing him to lose consciousness before the crash.

   But, whether he put the town before his own safety by consciously flying away from the residential area, or he was the victim of a hazard of flying and died unable to do anything as he wasn't aware of anything, let's not detract from the sacrifice that he made. He wasn't in this country on a holiday, but taking part in the war effort.

THE plane crashed on the outskirts of town on January 14th, 1944. The brave pilot was 1st Lieutenant Arthur L. Brown, a 23-year-old New York man, a member of the United States Army Air Force  (U.S.A.A.F). [In 1947 this became the US Air Force.]

   At one time the grave was tended by local Brownies (the junior section of the Girl Guides, for those not familiar with the term) who used to put flowers on the grave from time to time, but especially in January. The gravestone says it was laid "with sympathy and respect."  

   While it might seem from the description "airman's grave" that the young man is lying in a neat resting place, the reality is that his body lies with the wreckage of his plane which is still in the crater it created, near to this site. It was impossible to recover either the pilot or his plane. It is believed that there is running sand in the area, although there isn't any sign of that at ground level. 

 

New research into the crash | Airman's sister dies

 

COMMENT

DOES it make any difference that 1st Lt Arthur Brown may not have taken evasive action to prevent his aircraft hitting the town and was a victim of anoxia instead? Not at all. He remains a hero. In that I agree with Daniel Cornes whose research we carry here.

   Arthur Brown came over here to help Britain in the war effort and gave his life. Just like countless others who we remember, thank and praise every Remembrance Sunday around the Nantwich War Memorial and

 

other  memorials in the Nantwich area.  It is just that his memorial is a few yards from where his body, and his plane, still lie. To mark this, a special service is held for him every January 14, the anniversary of his death in 1944.

    By mentioning the anoxia problem we are in no way demeaning Arthur Brown or the Brownies and Cheshire Regiment Association members who recall his death in his plane.     

 

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