Sgt Jacques Bonnewit and Sgt John Muncaster Image courtesy of Gareth Mackey

On 24 February 1945, two airmen based at the RAF base at Cranfield, Bedfordshire took off on a training mission. The mission was crewed by Sgt Jacques Bonnewit, a Belgian who had escaped Nazi occupied Europe to fight for the liberation of the continent within the RAF, and Sgt John Muncaster, a Cumbrian.

Their aircraft was the, mostly wood constructed, iconic Mosquito MK X.VII. Whilst not necessarily as well known as the Spitfire, the Mosquito was still known for ruffling the feathers of a jealous Goering.

At some time during the flight, the aircraft got into trouble and began to head back to the airfield at Cranfield. As the aircraft flew over Flitwick it began to break up, crashing in Woodside Field, Flitwick at around 12.32 with the loss of both airmen.

2020 saw the 75th anniversary of the crash, and Flitwick resident Mark Rankine partnered with Flitwick Ward Councillor Gareth Mackey to create a lasting memorial to the airmen.

Gareth said:

“We have learned so much from those who were, although young at the time, can still remember the crash.”

The memorial initial plan proved too expensive during the economic conditions of the COVID Crisis.

This year, on the 76th anniversary of the crash, Gareth and Mark have launched a fundraising campaign via Go Fund Me. Gareth said:

“We are seeking to raise £1500 to create a memorial in stone. Two designs have been produced by our partner G & R Lee Memorials, whose workshop is located at Cranfield Airport, the home base of the two airmen.”

Once funding has been secured, it is hoped to formalise a site for the memorial and the aim is to hold a dedication ceremony after the Lockdown restrictions have been eased in Summer 2021.

If you would like to donate to the cause please visit Flitwick Airmen Memorial.

Sgt Jacques Bonnewit and Sgt John Muncaster Image courtesy of Gareth Mackey