Remembrance Sunday run to the Airman’s Grave – Sunday 14th November


For the tenth year, and after a no ceremony last year due to Covid, we will be holding a special  Remembrance Sunday run to the memorial known as the ‘Airman’s Grave’ on Ashdown Forest (new members should see below for significance). The full 12 mile run (6 miles there and 6 miles back) will start from St Johns car park on Ashdown Forest at 9.10am – please come in good time to leave promptly so that we can arrive for the 2 minutes silence at 11am. This car park is the next turning on the right after the Horder Centre in St John’s Rd if approaching from the Groombridge direction.

An alternative 6 mile run will start from Gill’s Lap car park at 10.10am – please wait for the long run group to arrive to guide you. Similarly, this is three miles each way, so you have plenty of time to get to the Airman’s Grave. All routes will be marked with flour as we go to help any latecomers on their way.

Please wear your club vest over your normal Sunday run attire, or bring it to don for the short ceremony. I suggest that you also bring a warm top to wear, it’s likely to be rather chilly standing on the exposed hillside. With so much rain so far this autumn, it’s extremely muddy on the Forest at the moment, so trail shoes or studs are definitely recommended.

The total distance of 12 miles will be at an easy pace with plenty of regrouping over a stunningly picturesque route. Weather permitting, the ceremony is often graced with a flypast from a Tiger Moth which drops poppies over the assembled crowd.  If you don’t want to run, but would still like to join us for the ceremony, I suggest that you park in one of the car parks on the Nutley Road well before 11am as it normally becomes extremely congested. Photos from previous runs may be found here.

Looking forward to seeing plenty of Harriers on Remembrance Sunday.

Andy Howey

For those of you aren’t aware of the historical significance of the Airman’s Grave, this small walled garden just south of the Hollies car park is in fact the crash site of a WW2 aircraft. On the night of 31st July 1941, a badly damaged Wellington bomber was returning from a raid on Cologne when, unable to make it back to its base at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire, it crashed on the Forest. All six crew members were killed, with the 2nd Pilot, Vic Sutton being a local man from nearby Nutley. Although none of the crew were buried there, the mother of the 2nd Pilot established a small memorial which grew in size as years passed.

In recent years, the Friends of Ashdown Forest have held a brief and informal remembrance ceremony at the site, and the Harriers will join in laying a wreath at what has now become a very popular event with hundreds on foot and horseback in attendance. In 2019, over sixty runners did the shorter route from Gills Lap, with members of Lingfield RC and East Grinstead Runners joining the Harriers for our run.