Remembrance Sunday Memorial Events

We are all set up here in the Memorial Library for Remembrance Sunday, with our new front book display and 2AD Teddy wearing his poppy for remembrance.

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Thousands will be attending this year’s annual Remembrance Sunday observance here in Norwich, which will mark the passing of those who have fallen in wartime.  The event will begin at 10:35 on Saint Peter’s Street, outside City Hall at the newly reopened war memorial, where Lord Mayor of Norwich, Brenda Arthur, will lay the first wreath of poppies on behalf of the city.  The public are invited to attend, and there will be a designated area for wheelchair users.

After this service, a procession of ex-servicemen, members of the Royal British Legion, voluntary organizations, RAF Marham, army, navy and air force cadets will march through the city, led by the Norwich Citadel Band, to a Remembrance service at Norwich Cathedral beginning at 11.40am.  The parade will leave Gaol Hill at around 11.05am and continue along London Street, Opie Street, Castle Meadow, Agricultural Hall Plain, Upper King Street to the Cathedral to conclude in the Cathedral Upper Close with the taking of a salute.  Public seating inside the church will be limited for this service, but everyone is welcome to attend.

You can read more about Norwich Remembrance Sunday service details here.

‘Lady Jane’ Memorial Event

We have also been informed that there will be memorial service dedicated to the crew of the ‘Lady Jane,’ which will take place at 2pm on Sunday 8 November 2015 near the plaque at Freeman Square, and Heigham Street. Those who will remembered include: 2/Lt. Arthur Akin Jnr. Pilot, Portsmouth VA; 2/Lt. Paul E. Gorman, Navigator, St. Brooklyn. NY; S/Sgt John J. Jones, Waist Gunner, Gem. Texas; S/Sgt Phil A Wadsworth, Radio Operator, Forsan, Texas; S/Sgt Oscar B. Nelson, Vashon, Wash; S/Sgt John A.Phillips, Engineer, Norwood, Norfolk NY; S/Sgt Don P Quirk, Tail Gunner, Muncie, Ind; S/Sgt Ralph von Bergen, Waist Gunner, Denver, Colorado.

The Lady Jane was a B-24 Liberator, part of the 753rd Squadron and 458th Bombardment Group, based in Horsham St Faith, Norfolk. Returning from a practice mission on November 24th, 1944, the aircraft appeared to experience difficulties, first banking and then losing altitude, before hitting the tower on St. Phillip’s Church on Heigham Road. As pilot Ralph Dooley, only 20 years old at the time, struggled with the controls of his stricken Liberator, looking for a way to avoid crashing into houses, the right wing dropped and the ship crashed and exploded into flames in one of the few areas free of homes. No civilians were injured, but witnesses say that the crew didn’t stand a chance.

The Freeman Square Memorial reads as follows:

“To the memory of the under mentioned members of 753rd Squadron, 488th Bomb Group, 2nd Bombardment Division USAAF, who died near this spot, 24th November 1944. 2/Lt. Ralph J Dooley. Pilot 74-4 E. Ontario Street, Philadelphia PA.”

You can read a full account and view documentation of the Lady Jane tragedy on the 458th Bomb Group website. You can also read more in the book In Search of Lady Jane by Richard Clements, currently available in our catalogue.

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