Memorial held in honour of ‘forgotten’ air crash victims

Clockwise from top, the memorial service; the Aviation Heritage Centres Lancaster Bomber;  the plaque dedicated to the dead airmen; and thethe family of  crash victim Flt Lt Charles Vernon Burkard
Clockwise from top, the memorial service; the Aviation Heritage Centres Lancaster Bomber; the plaque dedicated to the dead airmen; and thethe family of crash victim Flt Lt Charles Vernon Burkard

It was one of the darkest days in RAF Coningsby’s illustrious history.

October 7, 1964, and a Vulcan bomber crashed as it approached the airfield. All five crew members were killed.

Family and organizers

Family and organizers

Apparently, the wing tip of the iconic bomber - a key part of Britain’s frontline defences during the Cold War - hit the ground.

The five who died were pilots Wing Commander Kenneth John Lewis Baker and Flying Officer Paul Elliot Busfield along with Flt Lt Charles Vernon Burkard, Flt Lt Geoffrey Bingham, and Flying Officer Alan Hubert Jones.

The two pilots managed to eject from the aircraft before it crashed and exploded into flames.

One of the pilots was killed. The other survived but died a few hours later in hospital.

The other three members were trapped in the burning wreckage.

Almost 50 years later and the tragedy appeared to have been forgotten... until it came to the attention of David Willey, a member of the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group and a volunteer at the East Kirkby Aviation Heritage Centre.

• Read the full story in this week’s paper.