News of Bowland

John Martin Gilmer - more details

A relative, Kathleen Jamieson,  has been in touch and suplied this link to more information on the Wings Over Cambridge web site, about John Martin Gilmer.

Marion Wheldon from Australia visits

On Friday 4th September 2015 Marion Wheldon from Australia visited the crash site near Gisburn and dedication stone on the Nick of Pendle of her late Uncle, Flight Sergeant John L Goulter aged 22 of the Australian Royal Air Force. Marion and her partner Jeff were shown round by our Chairman Mel Diack MBE. Marion and Jeff will be returning for the Memorial unveiling at Sykes Green on Saturday 19th September.


Teresa Jean Theis - email

A heartfelt thank you to each of you for your dedicated efforts, and for your invitation to us to attend the ceremony in September.  Unfortunately, there may be family obligations this year that will not allow the time away that it would take for us to travel there.  But, we are ever so grateful at the thoughtfulness and meaningfulness placed upon the ceremony and the memorial to Norbert and the other fallen servicemen.

Thank you so much for the photos, the article, the CD of pictures, and the copy of the draft service, which is lovely.  If we do not attend, it would be very nice to see the pictures and articles afterwards; so we appreciate your offer to send those to us.  I assume that I may make copies of the CD not only for Dan and other relatives, but also for the aviation collection at the University of Texas at Dallas, but please let me know, if not.

Beyond the generous sharing of so much with us and the dedicated efforts of your group to remember our uncle and the other men, there are a couple of other noteworthy commendations to make.

Mel, thank you for the continuous communication with us over these past few days, and the leadership vision you have for the group.  It goes without saying that today's youth around the globe are often not taught well the value of past historical events, or the dignity in honoring those who have fallen, even when those who have perished are not one of your own.....or particularly especially then.  But, it teaches diversity, respect and generosity, and it lends a broader perspective to how youth view their world and the context for their own future.  It is very admirable.

I have worked for many years in workforce and youth development programs, and generally have not encountered such a similar dedication to teaching youth respect for cultural traditions and for historical events, except among Native American communities in our country.  So, picking such an intense project for your youth is very commendable. 

For each of you, thank you for your time, energy and commitment to this youth project, the activities, the mentoring of the youth, and the materials produced.  The poem reading, oak tee planing, Braille book and so much more are very precious acts of kindness for our family, and so appreciated in terms of showcasing the value of these men's lives and their service to a greater cause. 

Many thanks to Jeremy Duckworth for allowing the dedication stone to be placed on his land in remembrance of the men.  The future use of his land along the walking path is very generous.

For Norman, a special thank you for the ingenious idea to leave a note on the website for Norbert's grave site - without which we would not have known on a timely basis about your upcoming ceremony and your need for more information.....that was brilliant.

Lastly, it is not often that servicemen in campaigns are individually remembered for decades after their passing.  One probably scarcely considered such a thing at the time the despair hit our family over Norbert's death.  I remember my grandmother received letters from the village near where the plane went down.  To know that, generations later, the people living there have still not forgotten his legacy in the airlift is an enormous honor.  On behalf of Norbert and our family, many thanks to each of you and to the Clitheroe Youth Forum.

Teresa Jean Theis

Norbert H Theis information from relative

Here are some scans that should give you all the information that you need. Also the local news paper is interested in reporting all that you are doing in England so please pass that on to me as it progresses! The cemetery that Norbert is buried in is called The St. Leo Cemetery and it is a small Catholic community 10 miles south of Cunningham, Kansas. The reason Norbert and his brother Daniel are buried there is because the Cunningham Sacred Heart Catholic church in Cunningham did not have a cemetery at the time. The scans from the paper are from Cunningham’s Centennial Year Memorial day paper (1885 to 1985)!!
Dan Theis


This image is quite big. To read it, right click on it and select View Image which will open in your browser, where you can then zoom in on it. Then use browser back button to come back here.

 Norbert Theis letter


Two photographs from The St. Leo Cemetery and on the right his Service Record - read as above.

Norbert record

Norbet Theis headstone



Forest of Bowland Memorial Books

On Sunday 2nd August at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe the two Roll of Honours were handed over to representatives of the Clitheroe Youth Forum and Chairman Mel Diack MBE.

These Roll of Honours have the names of all 25 Airmen killed in the Forest of Bowland during World WarTwo and the early part of the Berlin Airlift. 

Norman Kelly carried his work out in calligraphy and Chris Tattersall in Braille. Youth members worked on both books during the course of the project.

Representing the Youth Forum were Leyton Hargreaves, Nial Robinson, Abigail Keeley and Keeley Broadbent.

These books will be blessed by Arch Deacon Michael from Lancaster at the Memorial unveiling at Sykes Green, Langden Brook on Saturday 19th September 2015 at 1pm.


Roll Book 1  Roll Book 2

A Night of Sharing as Bomber Crashed

Following the Burn Fell crash, a number of local people were involved in the rescue. One of these was Nellie Howard and we have been fortunate in receiving a copy of an account she wrote regarding the incident. Her son Robert Howard attended the memorial service on Burn Fell and spoke from the account. We thank him very much for this.


Edgar Lyon letter

Edgar Eugene Lyon was one of the casualties of the Burn Fell aircraft crash. Prior to his military service he was the President of Shepherd High School and we have received a copy of an article he wrote as his farewell. This was sent by a relative Duone Lyon.


A further letter was also received from Duone Lyon which may be seen on his listing in the Casualties of Bowland.

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