A cache placed at the memorial to a crashed World War Two USAAF B26 Marauder. (There is also an identical plaque located in the Ashingdon and East Hawkwell Memorial Hall.)
A United States Army Air Force wartime Martin B26 Marauder medium bomber, 42-96102, T6-X 'Lilly Commando,' of 573rd Squadron, crashed in Ashingdon in the fields to the north of Canewdon Road during the Second World War on 24th September 1944. The aircraft was flying in very bad weather from Amy Aerodrome near Roye in Northern France to its home base at Matching Green, in Essex. The crew of four men died in the crash and a monument was erected in the field near the crash site.
The weather had been atrocious and their previous day's mission to Düren in Germany had been cancelled so the crew had landed in France. Given the weather conditions perhaps it was tempting fate to attempt to fly home at that time; however, six B26 aircraft were ordered to return to Matching Green that fateful day. The very high winds, poor visibility and torrential rain meant that all six aircraft made slow progress and eventually lost their bearings. As a result the planes ran out of fuel and crashed. Two of the other B26s crashed that same day killing all on board, two more crash-landed at Matching Green. The aircraft were destroyed but, thankfully, the crews survived. One of the six planes landed safely, but only just: it ran out of fuel while taxiing from the airfield.
The heavy rain meant the field along Canewdon Road would likely have been covered in rain water. It is assumed that the airmen thought they were landing onto a body of water because the crew had removed their boots before the crash as per normal instructions for landing on water.
A lady in Canewdon saw the B26 approaching very low and noted the engines were very loud. As the B26 crossed Canewdon Road it hit the tops of a row of tall elm trees, then it hit some more 200 metres further on. The impacts wrecked the aircraft and caused it to catch fire. The B26 crashed into the field where it had intended to land and all four crew members on board were killed.
Another USAAF airman was believed to be on board Lilly Commando that day but there is no conclusive proof of the death of a fifth person in relation to this crash.
When you find the cache take a moment to think of these brave men who lost their lives defending our country. And let's not forget the hard work of the 1st Ashingdon Scouts who are responsible for the plaque's existence. Well done!
If anybody would like to expand this series, please do. I would just ask that you could let Just-Us-Two know first at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can keep track of the memorial numbers and names to avoid any duplication.
***** PLEASE NOTE IMPORTANT *****
CACHES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE PLACED ON ACTUAL MEMORIALS OR WITHIN THE BOUNDARY OF SUCH
AT ALL TIMES PLEASE TREAT LOCATIONS OF MEMORIALS WITH RESPECT