Freckleton air crash survivor Peter dies, aged 85

One of the last survivors of the Freckleton Air Disaster has died, aged 85.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 7:00 am
Peter Curwen

Peter Curwen was just 10 when an American plane crash ed into Holy Trinity Church of England School in August 1944, killing 61, including 38 children.

Although his family say he rarely talked about the disaster in the ensuing years, he said in a 2014 interview, at the time of the 70th anniversary of the incident, that it was “something you don’t forget, no matter how much you wish you could”.

Mr Curwen, of Dowbridge, Kirkham, leaves his wife June, to whom he was married for 58 years, daughters Denise and Louise, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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At the time of the 70th anniversary he recalled: “It was the first day back after the holidays. I was 10.

“The sky was like something you have never seen before, it was black and blue, every colour you could think of.

“It rained that hard the gutters around the school could not cope. All I remember is a huge explosion in the next classroom. Next thing I knew I was running out into the yard and all you could see was a wall of flames.

“I remember after being escorted home, a lady across the road asked me if I had seen her son and all I could say was no. I then spent three days in bed with shock.

“It’s a thing I don’t talk about, it’s only at this time of year that you think: ‘How close was I?’”

Mr Curwen, who worked for Lancashire County Council as a plant machinery inspector, was a lifelong keen fisherman and in his younger years followed a family tradition of playing in Freckleton Band.

His funeral is at Lytham next Tuesday, May 12 and after neighbours line his road to say farewell, the cortege will pass through Freckleton. It is due to set off from Kirkham at 10.45am.

Donations are invited to Cancer Research c/o Billingtons Funeral Directors 01772 684856.