Belfast Telegraph

Relative backs call for memorial to airmen killed in wartime crash

The existing memorial on Binevenagh mountain
The existing memorial on Binevenagh mountain
Local historian Stephen McCracken
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The last surviving relative of a pilot whose plane came down near Limavady during the Second World War has backed calls for a permanent memorial to those who perished.

There were no survivors when the plane carrying nine airmen crashed into Binevenagh Mountain on June 24, 1944.

A simple cross with the names of those who died marks the exact location of the crash, but this is in an area which is not accessible to the public.

Morton Jenkins (79), from Cardiff, saw a report in the Belfast Telegraph in which local historian Stephen McCracken called for a more prominent marker to commemorate the deaths.

Mr Jenkins hopes the public can learn more about what happened on the fateful night his uncle and eight others died.

Mr Jenkins said: "My uncle, pilot officer Ivor Bramwell Jenkins (Taffy Jenkins), was the pilot who crashed into Binevanagh mountain and was killed along with all the crew.

"As his last surviving relative, I am very grateful to the Irish wreckology group for erecting the cross mentioned in your article.

"As I am now 79 years old and live in Cardiff, I cannot often visit my uncle's grave in Blaengarw, but I would be interested to hear of any progress in your plea for a memorial to the crew who sadly perished on that foggy night on June 24, 1944."

Mr McCracken said that since the story appeared in the Belfast Telegraph, he has had several offers of help and is optimistic the memorial will happen.

He added: "I've since been contacted by a number of people and organisations such as the Limavady British Legion offering to help with fundraising, but I am really pleased to know that we have the blessing of Mr Jenkins.

"All nine bodies were recovered from the scene and were either repatriated, as in the case of Mr Jenkins' uncle, or buried in the Commonwealth graves at Ballykelly Church of Ireland.

"I also contacted the Ministry of Defence about the possibility of making the crash site a war grave because I have spoken to a couple of people who recall being at the site and finding what they said were human bones and burying them there."

A MoD spokesman said a memorial at Binevenagh was acceptable as long as it wasn't near the site of the actual accident.

He said: "Military aircraft crash sites within the UK are protected by the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, and therefore the site and any human remains must remain undisturbed.

"Those servicemen who are believed to have paid the ultimate sacrifice are rightfully honoured and remembered at their respective cemeteries."

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