For the fifth year, we will be holding a special Sunday Run this weekend to the memorial known as the ‘Airman’s Grave’ on Ashdown Forest (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 a quarter mile walk from our proposed post-run venue, the Coopers Arms, where parking is severely limited. It 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 parkat 10.10am – please wait for the long run group to arrive to guide you. 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 as it is likely to be rather chilly standing on the hillside.
The total distance of 12 miles will be at a leisurely 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. The Nutley Road is currently closed due to roadworks, but will be opened for the event on the day.
Due to recent illness, the Coopers Arms no longer serve food, but Dave the landlord will be happy for you to consume your own food on his premises, providing any drinks are purchased from the bar!
Looking forward to seeing plenty of Harriers on Sunday.
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 (the 75th anniversary being on a Sunday next summer), 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 ironically coming from nearby Nutley. Although none of the crew were buried there, the mother of the 2nd Pilot, Vic Sutton, 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.
This will be the second time this year that the Club will have visited the crash site of a Wellington bomber. Those that went to the Brecon Beacons on last June’s Club Tour ran past the wreckage and memorial for Wellington R1465 which crashed below Waun Rydd with the loss of all five Canadians on board.