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Watton war memorial re-dedicated

PUBLISHED: 10:10 17 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:54 08 July 2010

British and American war veterans will be attending a special ceremony this weekend for the re-dedication of a war memorial.

The ex-servicemen who are all in their eighties will be travelling from all over the country and America to Watton to attend a re-dedication service of a memorial to the men of the 25th Bomb Group - a special reconnaissance group based in Watton during the final year of he war.

British and American war veterans will be attending a special ceremony this weekend for the re-dedication of a war memorial.

The ex-servicemen who are all in their eighties will be travelling from all over the country and America to Watton to attend a re-dedication service of a memorial to the men of the 25th Bomb Group - a special reconnaissance group based in Watton during the final year of he war.

The guest of honour is Air Commodore the Hon. Sir Timothy Elworthy, who was the guest at the original unveiling of the RAF memorial in 1984. Baroness Shephard of Northwold, and local dignitaries will also attend.

The Act of Remembrance and re-dedication of memorials will be led by the Venerable Martin Gray, Archdeacon of Lynn.

The memorial to the men of the 25th Bomb Group was first erected and dedicated 24 years ago and positioned just inside the main gate at RAF Watton. It was joined some years later by a memorial to the Royal Air Force. Eighty four American veterans attended the original unveiling and dedication and a similar event took place a year later for the Blenheim propeller which is the RAF memorial. The propeller came from one of the Blenheim aircraft shot down at Aalborg, Denmark which was recovered and returned to Watton by a Danish Scenes of Crime Officer.

A few years ago the Wartime Watton Project Team were required to relocate the memorials, as the Ministry of Defence were selling the technical site. They were later moved to the south of the site near the old officers' mess which remained open as a joint RAF and community building and housed the Wartime Watton exhibition for ten years.

The MOD subsequently decided to close and demolish the building, leaving the two memorials completely isolated and prone to vandalism.

Following lengthy negotiations with developers Cofton Ltd, it has now been agreed to return the memorials to their original positions where they will be more secure and more readily viewed by visiting veterans and their families. Each year since the memorials were established the Wartime Watton Team have ensured that they are cleaned and cared for and that wreaths are laid on Remembrance Sunday.

The re-dedication ceremony will be held in Watton on Saturday, at 11am.

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