|Anstey Castle Mound And Moat, St. George's Church,|
Yesterday I mentioned the tragedy of the crash of Command PFF plane 42-97746 in the village of Anstey, just a few miles south of the main runway. Fortunately the large bomber missed all houses and crashed into the moat surrounding the old Anstey castle mound behind St. George’s church. All ten crewmen were killed including pilot William Meyran and Command pilot Charles Khourie.
This tragic event would later become the impetus for serious research into the 398th Bomb Group. In the fall of 1972, three local Englishmen, Vic Jenkins, Malcolm “Ozzie” Osborne, and John Knight explored the crash site. Ozzie explains it best: “One October day in 1972 we climbed Anstey Castle mound, together with a colleague of mine from work. All we knew was Vic’s information that a B17G Flying Fortress had crashed into the mound shortly after taking off from Nuthampstead, with the loss of all onboard. Up on the mound this grey October day, my colleague, John Knight, suddenly called out “look what I have found”. It was the case of a wrist watch, no glass, hands or strap. John wet his finger and rubbed the back of the case and we saw the name ‘William L Meyran’ engraved on the back. That made the hairs go up on the back of my neck, suddenly this all became extremely emotional, it truly brought home the fact that 10 young American Airmen had perished on this spot. Who were they? What were their names? Where were they headed for that day? Why did they crash? There were so many questions, but nowhere or nobody to turn to for answers.”
“I decided then and there that I would not rest until I found out all I could about Nuthampstead, the Bomb Group known as the 398th, its four Squadrons and those young men who gave their lives on that Medieval Castle Mound. So I came up with the name ‘Nuthampstead Airfield Research Society’ (NARS) – how original. A society with only two members, well why not? So in 1972 we began our research quest.”
|My Son Jeff And Me, Joyce and Malcolm Osborn, And My Brother Steve At Cambridge American Cemetery|
From this humble beginning has grown a great deal of serious research, and has led to the formation of the 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association, the quarterly publication Flak News, the erection of an impressive memorial at the Woodman Inn adjacent to the old Nuthampstead base, the creation of a beautiful stained-glass memorial window at St. George’s church in Anstey, and more.