Celebrating 300 years

Hertfordshire Lodge of the Legion lays wreath at Liberator Memorial in Cheshunt

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Hertfordshire Lodge of the Legion No. 9827, based in Cheshunt, ensures that as many war memorials as possible throughout Hertfordshire have a poppy wreath laid on Remembrance Sunday each year

In all, members of the lodge lay more than 60 wreaths each year. The first wreath-laying ceremony for this year took place at the Liberator Memorial, by Lt Ellis Way, Cheshunt, on November 2. This was attended by civic leaders, local MPs and councillors, in addition to the Royal British Legion, USAF guard of honour and a three-gun salute from USAF Mildenhall, along with the new Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Master Paul Gower, who laid the wreath on behalf of the Lodge and numerous brethren.

Brief history

On the 12th August 1944, what was then the small town of Cheshunt was saved from a catastrophic disaster that would have cost many of the local citizens their lives. 

An American B24 'Liberator' aircraft from the 392nd Bomber Command, based in Wendling, Norfolk, on route to Germany was involved in a mid air incident above the town. 

The aircraft, under the command of Lt John D. Ellis, fell from the sky and was steered away from Cheshunt, crash landing just outside the town. The B24 Bomber was fully laden and exploded on impact, killing all ten crew members on board. 

The memorial was constructed and unveiled on the 22nd January 2011 at Lieutenant Ellis Way, named after Lt John D. Ellis, through the tireless work and commitment of Ernie Havis a veteran and Royal British Legion local representative. 

At a ceremony on the 12th August this year two flagpoles with the Union flag and Stars and Stripes were erected and dedicated to the site by Col Travis A. Willis, USAF Air Attaché from USA. 

The Lodge of Legion is instrumental in ensuring that the ten crew members are honoured each year.

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