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Airman’s niece in visit to memorial
3:00pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
THE niece of an airman who died during World War Two travelled from America to visit his memorial at Broadway Tower for the first time, 70 years after her uncle’s death.
Cathy Peria, of Eagan, Minnesota, discovered the memorial stone commemorating the death of her uncle, Flt Sgt Donald Herbert Kelly, from Canada, and four other airmen, when she read an article on the Journal website.
She was so moved by the memorial, which is looked after by the Evesham Royal Air Force Association, she and her husband Bill Bartusch decided to travel across the Atlantic to see it.
She said: ”After my mother died we found pictures she had never shown us. It is heartbreaking, he looks so young. Through the internet we found the memorial at the tower and we thought someone should come.
“What is really moving to us all is the care taken to maintain the monument. I was so touched by the people maintaining it after reading the article. It was very moving. It is wonderful that people have remembered him. We are very grateful. The trip has far exceeded our expectations.”
The memorial stone commemorates Flt Sgt DH Kelly, Pilot HG Hagen, Sgt EG Ekins, Sgt DA Marriott and Sgt RS Phillips, who perished when their Whitley bomber came down near Broadway Tower on June 2, 1943. It will be replaced next month, before this year’s annual service held on the 70th anniversary of the tragedy at 2pm.
The stone, which has stood on the top of Broadway Hill for 15 years, is in poor condition after becoming weather worn.
Robin Phillips, secretary of the Evesham RAF association, said: “This one may last 50 years,” he said.
“Hopefully we will get a book in the tower so when people have seen the stone if they want to contribute they can do so.”