Boxbergheide RAF Monument  

 

Regional RAF Memorial

Near this location, a RAF aircraft crashed on 31 August 1941. Three crewmembers were killed. Nowadays, the memorial commemorates all Allied pilots who fell in de Limburg region.

 

History (Source: Luchtvaarterfgoed)

On August 31, 1941, at 10.30 pm, the crew of the Wellington R1703 dropped her load on the burning Cologne. P/O John Ashton is on the control stick. Two members of his crew, sergeants Warburton and Hutton reported a few months later: "On the way back we were caught in a few searchlights and attacked by a hunter, our Wellington collapsed."

 

Lucien Bogers from Genk continues the story: "A burning point approached Genk from Langerlo, it was a burning plane over De Maeten and it still tried to keep a westerly course when it collapsed like a torch, exploded when it hit the ground and became a fire arrow .. Hours continued to burn the wreck There must have been a break in the air by fire or explosion, because a large wing fell down with Roger Thijs in the Congostraat and one engine fell beside the pigsty at the feet of Jan Bollen. "It was Oblt Winter from the 1.Staffel which beat their Wellington '10 km NE of Hasselt 'at 23.37. He managed to win this victory with the help of the 8.Battery of the Flakscheinwerfer 1.

 

Except for the sergeants Warburton and Hutton, there was only one survivor, Sgt Wood. He too escaped, but he died in June 1944 in a bomber near Calais. The remaining three crew members, P / O John Ashton (22 years), the observer Sgt Ernest Lane (25 years) and the Canadian radio operator / artillerist Sgt John Redden (20 years) died in the Boxbergheide near Genk.

 

What was first a wooden cross at the war graves and from 1943 a concrete cross has now become a full monument, designed by the Genker sculptor Raf Mailleux. The solemn inauguration took place on September 27, 1970. Fortunately, the concrete cross has been preserved, it stands for the monument. On the front of the cross is the crash date, on the back is still "1943".