Plea launched to family with Portsmouth pilot killed in crash tragedy

EFFORTS have been launched to reunite the family of a fallen Second World War fighter pilot killed in a crash in America.

Saturday, 28th January 2017, 6:00 am
Cye Laramie at the crash site in Washington state

Sergeant Arthur John Wilton was killed on June 26, 1945, along with two other men when a training exercise in British Columbia went horribly wrong.

The 23-year-old, who is believed to have grown up in Stubbington, was the navigator when his aircraft inexplicably slammed into Sulphur Mountain in Washington State.

The remains of the three men and their plane were found eight years later, in September 1953.

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A Dakota similar to the Sgt Wilton's which crashed in America

The families of Sgt Wilton’s flight team, pilot Sgt Daniel Sorfleet and co-pilot Petty Officer John Bayston, both of Lincolnshire, have been told of their relatives’ death.

But nobody has ever been able to contact Sgt Wilton’s family, prompting the appeal from American man Cye Laramie – who laid a memorial at the crash site.

Mr Laramie, who helped reunite the family of Sgt Sorfleet, said: ‘For whatever reason, the families of the three crewmen continued to believe their loved ones were still missing decades after they had actually been found.

‘The parents of the three men lived out their lives and sadly passed away never learning the truth. Our goal is to make sure the family of Sgt Wilton is aware that he was indeed found and buried on Sulphur Mountain.’

A Dakota similar to the Sgt Wilton's which crashed in America

Sgt Wilson was the son of Arthur E and Harriet A Wilton, who lived in Stubbington.

He was a former police constable in Portsmouth before volunteering to join the RAF in the war. He was seconded to the Royal Canadian Air Force for training, joining a team who would fly the doomed C-47 Dakota Skytrain soon after.

He is listed as ‘missing’ on the Portsmouth War Memorial.

Mr Laramie would like to speak to any relatives of Sgt Wilton. To contact him, email [email protected]