The Freckleton catastrophe of August 23, 1944, occurred when an American B-24 Liberator crashed into the small village of Freckleton in northwest England. The plane was on a test flight when it encountered a rare and severe summer thunderstorm. Air traffic control at the American air base Warton recalled the bomber back to the base. When the pilot attempted to abort the landing because of poor visibility and high winds, a downdraft caught the plane and it crashed into the adjacent village of Freckleton. As the B-24 tumbled through the village, destroying three houses and a snack bar, flames erupted from wreckage and engulfed Holy Trinity grade school. Before the fire could be brought under control, the holocaust destroyed an entire generation of children in this village of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. The village would never be the same.
In a compelling account of sorrow, loss, hope and finally rebirth, the book looks at the history of the village, the establishment of the base at Warton, the crash, the funeral of the 61 victims, the official British inquest and the American investigation into the cause of the crash. The lives of the survivors, the servicemen and the villagers are followed through 2012.
|Publisher:||McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
James R. Hedtke is a professor of history and political science at Cabrini College where he has taught for 40 years. He lives in Broomall, Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
1 Freckleton Before World War II 5
2 Base Air Depot 2 19
3 Ground Pounders, Fly Boys and Their Amazing Machines 39
4 Accident 56
5 The Crash: Wednesday, August 23, 1944 62
6 The Inferno 74
7 The Interment of the Innocents 93
8 The Investigation 106
9 The New Normal 121
10 The Playground Memorial 136
11 Remembrance 145
12 Freckleton Today 166
Chapter Notes 185
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this impeccably researched work, the author captures the tragic consequences of a B-24 bomber that crashed into the small village of Freckleton,England. With a rare combination of scholarship and emotion, Hedtke tells the story of a village coming to grips with the loss of a whole generation of children. This is a must read for students of World War II and those who enjoy human interest stories. It is the next Unbroken!