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Missing WWI memorial to brave airman listed......

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Geregistreerd op: 11-6-2007
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Mrt 2018 18:33    Onderwerp: Missing WWI memorial to brave airman listed...... Reageer met quote

Missing WWI memorial to brave airman listed after being broken up and found in stonemason's yard

When Captain Eric Lubbock was shot down over Belgium in 1917 his grief stricken mother Lady Avebury commissioned a touching memorial in the shape of his plane to stand forever in the graveyard of her family estate.

But it has taken a decades long fight to restore the memorial to its rightful place after corporate vandalism led to it being broken up and lost.

At one stage the Avebury family were even forced to spend £8,000 buying it back from the stonemasonís yard where it had eventually ended up.

Now the memorial to Captain Lubbock - who before his death had been awarded the Military Cross for ďconspicuous gallantry and skillĒ - has been granted listed status to ensure its protection for future generations.

It is one of 14 war memorials dedicated to British airmen from the First and Second World Wars being listed by Historic England on Wednesday to mark the centenary of the founding of the Royal Air Force.

They also include a memorial to Britainís most decorated airman, who shot down 57 enemy aircraft, and the first British pilot to shoot down a German Zeppelin airship.

Cpt. Lubbock, who flew with the Royal flying Corps, the predecessor of the RAF, was shot down in his Sopwith Camel bi-plane over Belgium on 11 March 1917.

His mother Alice commissioned his memorial to be erected in the family burial ground on the Avebury estate at High Elms, Bromley, where it stood near the graves of his brother and brother-in-law, also lost in the Great War..

During the 1930s the family was forced to sell the estate, which became the responsibility of Kent County Council, later transferring to Bromley Council.

In 1981 the Avebury family graveyard was broken up, several gravestones destroyed, and the rest moved into the grounds of the nearby St Gilesí Church.

It was at this point that the Lubbock memorial went missing, apparently carted off by somebody with access to the graveyard who thought they could sell such an unusual stone figure for cash.

The memorial was only re-discovered by pure chance, when a member of the Avebury family spotting it adorning the entrance of a stone masonís yard near Hungerford, Wiltshire, several years later.

Lyulph Lubbock, 5th Baron of Avebury, said: ďThey were just passing and saw it advertising the stonemasonís services at the entrance to the yard. The mason wouldnít say how he got hold of it and refused to give it back. In the end my father had to buy it back at auction for £8,000.Ē

The memorial was placed in the grounds of the Aveburyís familyís walled kitchen garden, now part of Bromley Councilís visitor centre at High Elms Country Park, where it was reconsecrated in 2010.

Captain Lubbock was awarded the Military Cross after shooting down a German Albatross plane on 25 October 1915.

Also being newly listed is the McCudden War Memorial in Chatham, dedicated to the four McCudden brothers Ė Royal Flying Corps pilots William, James and John and Royal Air Force test flight engineer Maurice.

James McCudden shot down 57 enemy aircraft and became the most decorated British pilot of the First World War, with medals for bravery including the Victoria Cross - one of 11 awarded to the Royal Flying Corps - Distinguished Flying Order and the French Croix de Guerre.

He died of his injuries on 9 July 1918, aged 23, when his aircraft developed an engine fault on the way to France and crashed.

Baron Avebury said: ďItís terribly important we list these memorials to stop what happened to my great uncle Ericís happening again. We need to protect our link to the past and remember the stories that go with these memorials.Ē

Michael Ellis, minister for heritage, added: "From the pioneering pilots of the First World War, to the heroism of the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force has a proud and distinguished wartime history.

ďAs we mark its centenary, it is right that we remember the stories of the brave pilots and staff who served in defence of Britain. These listings commemorate this legacy and preserve these historic memorials for future generations."
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