Posted: November 16, 2023
Engineering staff and students at North Lindsey College designed, created and presented a memorial which was unveiled at a recent memorial dedication service in Haxey.
During the Second World War a considerable number of Royal Air Force airfields were constructed around the Isle of Axholme which were active during WW2. They provided both training and front-line air support to the War effort through British and multinational aircrews flying a myriad of aircraft types. RAF Sandtoft, north of Haxey, was one of these airfields established in 1942 as a bomber aircraft training station. As a consequence of this activity, a significant number of aircraft crashes occurred, resulting in substantial fatalities and injuries to aircrew.
Haxey Parish Council acknowledged that due to the close connection the Parish has with the Armed Services and in particular the RAF, there would be community interest in recognising the ultimate cost paid by aircrews whose young lives ended but had no memorial where they perished.
The Parish Council decided to provide a memorial to recognise those that lost their lives, although severely delayed by the COVID regulations, work on the project continued through 2020 and 2021. As part of the Council’s requirement to give the project a local focus, North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe was approached and requested to come up with a suitable memorial design in steel as a project for their students with a view to them providing the fabrication at a future date. The Memorial design was approved by the Parish Council in 2020, manufactured in 2021 and transported to Haxey Parish in April 2022. Not only did the College provide the design and fabrication of the Memorial, but it also shared the cost of the materials with the Council.
Phil Scott (Learning Facilitator at North Lindsey College) said: “This project was one of the best I’ve been involved with, and it was a privilege to be part of it. To see the students working on the project with so much enthusiasm made it worthwhile. On the day it was unveiled at Haxey, after two and a half years due to the pandemic, was a great and a proud day for me, the students and North Lindsey College.”
The Memorial was unveiled by the sister and relatives of the Navigator of Halifax EB184, Flight Sergeant A Fox and Official Representatives from the RAF, Australian Armed services and the Polish Bomber Association laid wreaths.
Councillor David Knowles (Chairman of the Military Memorial Working Group of Haxey Parish Council) stated: “Haxey Parish Council is extremely grateful for the efforts of all the staff and students at North Lindsey which culminated in the recent Dedication Service of the Halifax Memorial held at Haxey Pinfold. The project has been a long journey since our initial meetings in 2019 and the subsequent intervention of the pandemic; however, the partnership with the College and the design and fabrication of the Halifax Memorial has proved to be a highly appropriate commemoration of the sacrifice of the 21 multinational aircrew who lost their lives in the Parish all those years ago. The community of Haxey Parish are proud of their new Memorial which will go some way to ensuring that the ultimate sacrifice of the three Halifax crews will not be forgotten.”
The dedication service was attended by more than 150 people including C of E Methodist and Roman Catholic Clergy, staff and Pupils from local schools, staff and students of North Lindsey College, the International Bomber Command Association, the Polish Bomber Squadron Heritage Centre, the Royal British Legion, representatives from North Lincolnshire Council and Neighbouring Town and Parish Councils, members of Local Air Training Corps Units, Haxey Parish residents and Parish Council members past and present and the Council Clerk.