Family thank Blandford on 70th anniversary of air crash
THE family of a Canadian airman who died when his plane crashed in a field near Blandford in February 1943 when returning from a Second World War mission have thanked the townsfolk of Blandford, on the 70th anniversary of his death, for the kindness and sympathy they showed.
Denise Donovan is the niece of Norman John Patrick Hartney, who together with his three RAF airmen colleagues, was buried in Blandford Cemetery.
She said: "The townspeople of Blandford showed kindness, respect and great sympathy for those airmen, on the day of their funeral, 19th February, 1943.
"Newspaper clippings and letters sent to my grandmother, Elsie Hartney, provided the family with some consolation, and those items have remained treasured parts of our family history, and have been passed down from my grandmother, to my mother and now to me.
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"This 16th February will mark the 70th anniversary of their passing. I would like to acknowledge how much the outpouring of shared grief of the townspeople meant to my family through the years. The boys are gone, as undoubtedly are many of those who attended the proceedings that day, but their memory is treasured."
Mrs Donovan said her mother, Joyce Catherine Donovan, had always wanted to make a trip to the cemetery to see, first hand, where her brother was buried.
"That was not to be. My mother passed away in August of 2011. At that time, someone from the local library who is writing a book about the cemetery was in touch with me, but unfortunately I have lost that contact information."
She said she would greatly appreciate getting back in touch with the person concerned, and would be glad to hear from them by email at email@example.com