Tribute to victims of village air crash

ALWAYS in our hearts.

This was the heartfelt message left by the people of Freckleton as they paid tribute to those who died in the village's air disaster of 1944.

A large crowd gathered in the sunshine to watch a plaque being unveiled on the site of the old school where tragedy struck.

To see our tribute slideshow click here

Sixty-one people, including 38 children, died when a United States Army Air Force B-24 Liberator crashed into the infants' part of the school during a stormy summer's day on August 23, 1944.

Although a memorial for those who died stands in the churchyard, the community felt that something was needed on the site itself.

Survivor of the disaster Harry Latham, 71, said: "It gives me a great sense of satisfaction that we have achieved something that we should have done a few years ago.

"We recently had some coverage about the disaster from the BBC.

"When they came to the village to interview us, they were very surprised we didn't have a plaque, so we set to work organising one.

"It has taken us about five weeks to prepare.

"It couldn't have been done without the help and financial support of the charitable trust and the parish council.

"I hope it will be there for generations to come."

A dedication was held by the vicar of Warton, the Rev Peter Ford, and Freckleton's brass band played at the short ceremony.

Two children from Freckleton CE School were chosen to unveil the plaque.

Mary Thompson, 11, of Freckleton, who is the great-great niece of disaster survivor Ruby Currell, 68, was chosen along with her classmate Thomas Lee, 10.

Mary said: "We were pleased to be asked to unveil the plaque.

"We have been learning about it in school and we were very interested to hear all about the disaster."

lisa.ettridge@blackpoolgazette.co.uk