B-17 Flying Fortress excavation

Pilot’s bracelet found 66 years after crash
A startling piece of World War Two history has been uncovered in a field in south Northamptonshire. Over the weekend, a team of aeroplane experts and archaeologists uncovered the remains of a  B-17 Flying Fortress which crashed on a site near Blakesley on October 11, 1944.

Among the hundreds of finds the group discovered were numerous bullets, pieces of the American plane’s windscreen, one of its wheels and a pedal from the cockpit.

But the most remarkable discoveries included two boots worn by members of the crew, remnants of a parachute and most incredibly of all, a small silver bracelet worn by the plane’s pilot, Nicholas Jorgensen, which despite being buried underground for more than 60 years, still had his name inscribed on the back.

The dig was organised by Blakesley resident, Romer Adams, who heard the plane crash when he was a five-year-old boy.

He said: “Finding something like the bracelet really brings home the personal side of it all. And that’s why we do things like this, to keep the memory alive of what these people did for us by making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

“It’s also brought back a lot of memories for people in the village, particularly for me as this plane actually flew over my head.”

The plane piloted by Jorgensen was on a training mission when disaster struck.

It was part of a formation of Flying Fortresses which had taken off from their base at Snetterton Heath in Norfolk to carry out a mock bombing run on Rugby.

As the planes hit a patch of bad weather above Northamptonshire, three of them collided in the air, leaving 11 men dead and debris from the planes spread across miles of open countryside.

The excavation of the remains of Jorgensen’s B-17 was carried out by archaeologists and experts from the  Sywell Aviation Museum.

Mr Adams said: “I still come up to the field to remember the crew every October and we’re now proposing to put a memorial up for them at the entrance to the field as we now know for sure that this is the spot where their plane crashed.”


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