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>> Arenig Fawr B17 Flying Fortress crash site
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Arenig Fawr B17 Flying Fortress crash site
Memorial for a B17 bomber crew
This is a link to a photo of the crew 2 weeks before they died !...........
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I came across the wreckage on School hiking trip back in 1966. You could easily read the memorial then. I was 13 years old.
Richard - Have just been up and see that the original memorial is still in place though difficult to read in parts. Who is organising the campaign to replace it? How far has the campaign reached? If a new plaque has not yet been produced, do you think steel is a better option than slate? Is funding a problem?
I would like to think the damage is weathering rather than vandalism - don't know.
Wonderful poem - Is D.J. Thorp still around?
Gethyn ap John
Richard, I'm keen to get involved with this and had just begun to make enquiries to replace the plaque without knowing that you had any plans to. Can I ask you to contact me as I may have a few USAF guys who would also like to be involved if possible
Making progress with replacing the original slate memorial.
There is a story that a 5ft 4in local man carried the original slate plaque, which measures 43x19 inches weighing close on 100 lbs, on his back, strapped on with ropes, to the top of the mountain which stands at 2800 feet. It took three men to lift it off his back. The stainless steel plaque will be quite a considerable weight. Any volunteers?.
If there is anyone who has further information abot the crew I would be glad to have it. Don Kinley, himself a veteran, of Tinley Park who did a lot of research sadly died in 2015.
That is truly one of the most humbling pieces of unintentional, 'found' war poetry that I have read. It inspired me to write song lyrics entitled 'Killed In Service,' with some of the original retained although in most part heavily redrafted. This is lined up for possible inclusion on the second album by my band The Lengthmen, as yet unrecorded. The sleeve notes will acknowledge the contribution gleaned from this site; should anyone have further details as to the original author, I would welcome the opportunity to include suitable reference to their wonderfully haunting work.
2017. Sadly the memorial at the toe of Arenih Fawr has been vandalised, but there are currently plans to have it replaced with one made of stainless steel which would be more durable.
I would be interested to know if the service is still being held in the chapel in Bala.
4th AUGUST. 1943
'To the crew of the Flying Fortress
that crashed on the summit
of Arenig Fawr'
War brought them - mist caught them.
Capsuled within fogged panes, we see them,
hunched over dials and wavering needles,
tapping the treacherous glass, gloved fingers
rapping the altimeter, sensing the danger.
Shock splinters their fear - a burst
of rock where no rock should have been,
fisting its way through glass, flesh, metal.
and now the same mist shrouds them, a mesh
of droplets, beading pale foreheads, hands,
grass and hard Welsh slate, clammy on leather,
cold on the creaking fuselage; a gray wind
lifting torn shreds of aluminum, shards
scattered among the ancient mountain crags.
Eight crewmen, lost to Illinois, Kentucky,
Ohio, California, New York, Michigan, Idaho
and Pennsylvania. We read their names,
carved on this slate and wonder who they were, or who they might have been, had not their fortress fallen from that grim August sky - how far they might have gone, how high have flown.
Don, I really would love to read the poem if you don't mind positing it on the site
A very touching story and a nice tribute. Thank you for sharing.
Wow... thank you for posting this on pbase. Men not only gave their lives during the battles... but none the less this loss and pain was felt by many many people they left behind. Good to see that they are still remembered.
I lived at a house called Bryniau Goleu on the south side of Bala Lake during the war years and we could see Arenig Fawr from there.
I remember clearly the August morning when we first saw part of the wreckage of the B17 sticking up from near the summit of the east peak of the mountain,it was there for about 3 weeks before removal . I was 10 yrs old then. Jerry
I was visitibf my wifes cousin in Bala when he said your from Tinley Park Il, Well theres a monument on the top of that mountain ( You coud see the mountain his kitchen window) One of the grew that died was from Tinley Park IL. That interested me and I came home and wrote the newspapers and Mayors of the boys town. This resulted in Flags of the towns being sent over there and thanking the people ofWales for remembering 8 strangers still fifty years after the crash. As they were still having a service in a small Church in Bala with a crowded attendance. Also I received a letter saying altho the Air crew was getting long in tooth and could no longer climb the mountain, don't worry as the sea cadets are taking over that honor.These are boys and girls from 12 to 17.
Thru the newspapers I have heard from twin sisters and brothers of some of the crew, The fiance of Allan Bonner who was to be married a month after the crash date. I also received a letter frrom a Bala resident that walked the mountain a lot and felt he had to write a poem. Ifyou read the poen you feel as tho your in the aircraft as it crashed. I well post it later if anyone wants to read it.
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