CAMPAIGNERS are a step closer to having a permanent memorial to two Australian airmen killed in the Second World War.
Just before 2am, on February 5, 1945, the volunteer Australian airmen from 464 Squadron were making their way back to their Thorney Island base.
Pilot Officer Edward Wicky, 22, and 21-year-old navigator, Pilot Officer Oswald Mountford, had been on a bombing mission to Ruhr, an industrial region of Germany which was producing Hitler’s armaments.
For unknown reasons the plane crashed, taking off part of the roof of Horndean Parish Hall and landing on a bank of earth in London Road where the motorway bridge now stands.
For 10 years members of the group Horndean Children of the 1940s have been calling for a memorial to the pair to be placed in the Memorial Square but have come up against a number of obstacles.
But now the parish council has agreed to set up a working group to get the plans under way – ahead of a visit from PO Mountford’s Australian relatives later this month.
Eddie Harmer is the driving force, along with Peter Barge, behind the plans.
He said: ‘We are very pleased that things are finally happening.
‘The council is still not happy with the size of it but we have reduced it a lot already.
‘It will be around 2.6ft high by 3ft with an inscription of what happened and an etching of a Mosquito aircraft used by that particular squadron.
‘We don’t simply want a blue plaque commemorating it because people just walk past them.
‘We want a really nice memorial.
‘It’s been costed up and will be in the region of £5,000 but we can’t start trying to get the money in earnest until we know we definitely have permission.’
The Australian Veterans’ Association has already given a donation of £100.
If you would like to make a donation call Mr Harmer on (023) 9238 7963.
A spokeswoman for Horndean Parish Council said the memorial was still considered too big but it would be working with the group to decide on what would be appropriate.