Memorial to Halifax bomber crash hero

Tom Scotland and Bill Duncanson
Tom Scotland and Bill Duncanson

A plaque commemorating a plane crash in Spen 70 years ago will be unveiled in Drub village next month.

The 19-year-old pilot of the Halifax bomber, Tom Scotland, expertly steered the stricken plane away from houses and crashed into fields known as Devil’s Glen in Drub.

Miraculously he escaped injury and was taken by rescuers to the Saville Arms in Hunsworth where he was given a stiff drink to recover.

The dramatic events were witnessed by a group of schoolboys, including Bill Duncanson, who ran to the pub and peered through the windows to watch the ‘hero in a flying suit’ downing a pint.

That was the last Bill saw of Tom – until 2003 when they were reunited by chance in Australia where incredibly they had both moved to, just 10 miles apart.

The pair became firm friends and met up each Boxing Day, the anniversary of the 1943 crash. Sadly Tom died last year, but his bravery will now be marked with a plaque.

The project is being carried out by Spen Valley Civic Society and the Drub Village Institute after they were approached by MP Mike Wood who felt the 70th anniversary should not go unmarked.

The event takes place on Sunday July 7 at 4.30pm – which is also the War Weekend in Hunsworth. Making the trip will be Bill, along with one of Tom’s sons, John.

Bill told the Guardian: “It will be nice to have a permanent memorial. The only reason people don’t really know about the crash is that nobody got hurt.

“ It would only have needed a slight change of circumstances and the plane would have gone through houses which would have been marked with a huge memorial.”