On 19th August 2018, 231 (Norwich) Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets attended a service at Holt Country Park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a Victor from RAF Marham and Canberra from RAF Bruggen going down during an electric storm. All seven-crew died but amazingly no one on the ground was injured. Thus, it was known as the “Miracle of Holt”.
The airmen that died in the accident were: Michael Doyle, Roger Morton, Stuart Cowie, William Gallienne, Kenneth Peacock, Johan Slabbar and John Woolnough.
This event was planned by The New Farm Aviation Heritage Group (NFAHG) and the Cadets from 231 (Norwich) Squadron were invited to attend. They formed a part of the standard party as well as receiving the union flag from brothers of Johan Slabbar and John Woolnough.
The NFAHG had found family members from around the world including South Africa and Canada; these family members were at the park for the unveiling of the plaque that is going to be on display in the visitor centre. Also, in attendance was Councillor Maggie Prior, Mayor of Holt Town Council. Who said a few words before the unveiling of the plaque.
Flying Officer Karen Ryan RAFAC spoke to some of the family members after the ceremony and they were very appreciative of the presence of the young cadets and said how much it meant to them. One of the people attending was the daughter of Johan Slabbar. She had never met her father as she was only three months old at the time of the accident. One of the brothers explained that his parents had been unable to cope with the tragedy and so sorting the funeral had fallen to him. Although he had been involved in that aspect of his brother’s death he felt that this weekend had finally given him closure as he had learnt so much more about the accident.
It was a privilege to be invited to this event and to meet the relatives of the airmen who lost their lives in a freak accident.
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