Horndean memorial for two Australian airmen who crashed and died in 1945 officially dedicated

Monday, 10 February, 2020

The memorial for the two airmen who crashed in Horndean in 1945 was officially dedicated on February 4, exactly 75 years after the crash happened.

Pilot Officers Oswald (Billy) Mountford and Edward Wicky were only 21 and 22 when they died.

A local group, the Horndean Children of the 1940s, remember witnessing the aftermath of the accident and have been campaigning for years to get a memorial installed.

They needed to raise £25,000 for the memorial, most of which came from public donations.

In 2019, they were given a welcome boost in their fundraising when they were granted £10,000 of developers’ contributions by East Hampshire District Council.

Hampshire County Council contractors Skanska cleared the site and laid the base of the memorial later last year.

This meant the memorial could be built in time for the 75th anniversary of the crash, which is when the group wanted the dedication to take place.

It was made even more special as nine of the remaining family members of the two men travelled from Australia to be at the event.

The blessing was given by the Archdeacon of the Meon, the Venerable Gavin Collins.

Other attendees included the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Rear Admiral Iain Henderson, a representative from the Australian High Commission and EHDC Chief Executive Gill Kneller.

Cllr Sara Schillemore, District Councillor for Horndean and Catherington, said: “It’s been a long and sometimes difficult road to make this happen.

"We have achieved what we set out to do, which is to create somewhere where we can remember not only these two young men who tragically lost their lives, but the many others who also made that sacrifice.”

Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Jan Aird, niece of Oswald Mountford, said: “They will always be here, part of this small community, and they will always be young.

“I am just once again so thankful that you have honoured them in this way.”