Memorial for WWII airman

The final stage is under way in a seven-year project to commemorate airmen killed in two wartime crashes in the hills above Upwaltham, south of Petworth.

A planning application has been submitted to Chichester District Council to allow two flint and brick cairns to be installed, one on Littleton Down and the second on the hilltop opposite.

They will stand as permanent memorials at the sites of the 1944 and 1945 crashes to the 15 men from the UK, Canada, Australia and the United States who died.

Sue Kearsey, churchwarden at the tiny St Mary the Virgin, Upwaltham, said if planning consent was granted, it would bring to an end a project which began in 2004 to commemorate the crews and others on board the ill-fated Lancaster bomber and American Dakota.

“Both of the crash sites are near public footpaths on the Downs and we only have rope and a piece of card at the moment to denote where they are,” Mrs Kearsey said.

“People leave poppies there, and it would be nice to have proper memorials.

“If we can do that, it would bring this whole project to a conclusion.

A grant from the South Downs National Park Authority has helped towards the £1,500 cost.

The shortfall has been met by proceeds from Mrs Kearsey’s open garden events and visits at her home in the hamlet.