The Andrew and Wilding remembrance service was held today, with representatives from the RAF, RCAF, the British Legion and the town coming together to remember the sacrifice of Flying Officer John Wilding RCAF and Flight Sergeant John Andrew RAF.
Andrew and Wilding Service
The service commemorates the sacrifice of the airmen, who gave their lives to save the town of Wallingford.
On the 9th September 1944, when returning from an aborted raid over Le Havre with other members of the RCAF’s 426 ‘Thunderbird’ Squadron, the Halifax bomber (pic left) caught fire over Wallingford when and engine exploded.
Still carrying a bomb load, Flying Officer Wilding (23) ordered his crew to bail out. However he and Sergeant Andrew (22) remained on board to pilot the bomber away from the town. The plane crashed in to fields at Newnham Murren, on the Crowmarsh side of the river. The pilots were mentioned in dispatches for their bravery, with Wilding posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
A Cairn with a plaque bearing the squadrons badge wasa built in 1960 at the junction of Andrew Road ans Wilding Road, named for the pilots. The Canadian Flag is also flown over Wallingford Town Hall each year.