Tributes paid to Dambusters heroes

MP Andrew Bingham and the mayors of the High Peak and Stockport at the memorial service at Chapel en le Frith's war memorial
MP Andrew Bingham and the mayors of the High Peak and Stockport at the memorial service at Chapel en le Frith's war memorial
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Onlookers watched with mouths agape as a magnificent Lancaster Bomber swooped overhead in tribute to men who lost their lives fighting for their country.

The historic aircraft was the breathtaking finale to a day of remembrance held in Chapel–en–le–Frith on Thursday, May 16, marking the 70th anniversary since the Dambusters raids.

The day, organised by Chapel resident Edmund Bradbury, remembered Flight Lieutenant William Astell D.F.C, a member of the 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron from Combs, who lost his life when the squadron led the assault on the dams of the Ruhr Valley in Germany on May 16 and 17, 1943.

Fellow squadron member Sergeant Jack Marriott D.F.M, of Chinley, was also killed during the raid.

Edmund commented: “I thought we should honour the memory of this Chapel resident who had given the ultimate sacrifice and we should acknowledge his great sacrifice.

“We also remembered Sergeant Jack Marriott. Both of them lost their lives along with colleagues.”

The service, held at the Chapel War Memorial, in the Market Place, started at 11am with a minute’s silence.

A message from Her Majesty the Queen was read out, in which she sent her ‘warm good wishes to all concerned for a most memorable gathering’.

Members of the Royal British Legion, including Derbyshire County, Chapel and Buxton, stood side–by–side with various dignitaries including the High Sheriff of Derbyshire, Derek Mapp, and High Peak MP Andrew Bingham to pay their respects.

Wreaths were laid at the war memorial and the service concluded with The National Anthem, lead by members of the Chapel Male Voice Choir.

Edmund continued: “I felt that the occasion had been one of the most significant events ever to have been held in Chapel–en–le–Frith.”

He expressed his thanks to all who had helped make the day possible.

“I was particularly grateful for the gracious message which was received from Her Majesty the Queen, which was read out at the commencement of the tribute,” he added.

Representatives of the present day 617 Squadron were also in attendance, and presented Edmund with a print of a Tornado fighter, signed by all the members of the squadron, in gratitude for his efforts.

A collection held on the day for the National Memorial Arboretum, which raised £420.