Redlingfield – Redlingfield Memorial

This memorial was placed here in 2010, commemorating the ten crew who lost their lives on 19 November 1943, when the B-17G aircraft (registration 42-31123) they were in crashed at this site.

This is the land behind the memorial, by the village green in Redlingfield. The aircraft had taken off from nearby RAF Horham and failed to reach the flying speed that it needed, so the pilot attempted to bank the plane to return to the airfield and it then stalled and lost power.

There’s a memorial sign nearby which gives some information about the ten men who died:

Pilot 2nd Lt Kenneth B Rongstad (born in 1922, single and worked as a photographer in Montana)

Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Warren Franklin Mansfield Strawn (born in 1919, single and worked as a doorman in Missouri)

Navigator 2nd Lt Richard E Diete (born in 1920, single and worked as a photo engraver in Illinois)

Bombardier 2nd Lt Joseph F Spicer (born in 1920, single and worked as a printer in Illinois)

Flight Engineer Staff Sgt Gail A Richmond Jr (born in 1924, single and worked as a tool worker from Pennsylvania)

Radio Operator Staff Sgt Gordon V Sorensen (born in 1919, married and worked as a chauffeur and driver in Michigan)

Tail Gunner Staff Sgt Kenneth Cosby (born in 1921, single and worked as a clerk in Ohio)

Turret Gunner Sgt Ball Charles E Phinney (born in 1915, single and worked as a driver in New York)

Waist Gunner Sgt Right Julius W Torok (born in 1919, divorced and worked as an aviation worker in Connecticut)

Waist Gunner Sgt Left Louis M Mirabel (no details known)

Which is certainly a wide spread of jobs and places of origin from across the United States, united only really by relative youth.

(Copyright American Air Museum / Imperial War Museum, UPL 14979)

BACK ROW

S/Sgt Gordon V.Sorensen (radio), Sgt Julius W.Torok (right waist gunner),
Sgt Charles E. Phinney (ball turret),Sgt Louis M. Mirabel (left waist gunner),
Sgt Aloysious L. Godek, S/Sgt Agnew R. Eckert

FRONT ROW

2nd Lt Kenneth B. Rongstadt (pilot), 2nd Lt Strawn (co-pilot),
2nd Lt Richard E. Diete (navigator), 2nd Lt Joseph M. Spicer (bombardier)

Eckert and Godek weren’t in the crew when the aircraft crashed and the photo doesn’t include Cosby and Richmond.

There’s more information at http://redlingfield.onesuffolk.net/home/local-history/the-second-world-war-2/b-17-crash-view-from-the-village/.