Airman's Cross to move ahead of Stonehenge project

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A MEMORIAL at Airman’s Corner is set to be moved into storage on Monday so that the Stonehenge improvement project can begin.

The army’s Royal Engineers, based in Tidworth, are helping English Heritage to move Airman’s Cross, a Grade II listed memorial located in the middle of the junction at Airman’s Corner, into safe storage at Perham Down barracks.

The move comes ahead of work starting on a new Stonehenge visitor centre, which was granted planning permission by Wiltshire Council two years ago.

The council granted permission for the memorial to be relocated in January 2010.

It commemorates the site of a military aviation accident on July 5, 1912, in which Captain Eustace Loraine and his passenger Staff Sergeant Richard Wilson became the first members of the newly formed Royal Flying Corps to lose their lives while flying on duty.

English Heritage says the memorial will be reinstalled in a prominent position within the precincts of the new visitor centre before it opens to the public.

Preconstruction tests are also being carried out at the site to the east of Airman’s Corner to see if a ground water source can provide sufficient drinking water and energy for a heating and cooling system in the new visitors centre.

The building will replace the existing facilities and it is expected to open in autumn 2013.

Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge project director at English Heritage, said: “We are glad that Airman’s Cross will have a safer permanent home at the new visitor centre where many more people will be able to get close to it in future and learn about this aspect of local history.”

The A344 and A360 junction will be remodelled and changed into a roundabout to accommodate traffic diverted by the closure of the A344 in spring 2013, as well as providing access to the new visitor centre.

Works to upgrade Longbarrow Roundabout will begin this autumn, and will be completed before the A344 is closed.

Comments (1)

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12:36am Sat 23 Jun 12

Alan Crooks says...

There is a curious ghost story associated with Airman's Cross which, I think is described in the book, 'Ghosts and Legends of the Wiltshire Countryside', by Katherine Wiltshire. She describes a letter written by one Sir Michael W.S. Bruce and published in the Evening Standard newspaper on 23rd Dec. 1953. Bruce wrote, "Shortly before D-Day.... Four of us went.... in a jeep to select suitable gunsites; we were coming up from the N. towards the road which runs past Stonehenge, and between us and the road lay a small copse; suddenly we saw a very small aircraft dive straight downward into the wood and disappear into the trees.; we raced the jeep up to give assistance; there was no sign of a crash - nothing... Suddenly I heard the W/O shout; he was standing white-faced before a large stone cairn commemmorating the first death from an aeroplane crash in this country in 1912".
As I recall, either Wiltshire's book or Drake's letter, confuses this incident with the death of the showman and kitemaker, W.F.Cody, which actually occurred at Farnborough. (Regrettably I've mislaid my notes on this).
There is a curious ghost story associated with Airman's Cross which, I think is described in the book, 'Ghosts and Legends of the Wiltshire Countryside', by Katherine Wiltshire. She describes a letter written by one Sir Michael W.S. Bruce and published in the Evening Standard newspaper on 23rd Dec. 1953. Bruce wrote, "Shortly before D-Day.... Four of us went.... in a jeep to select suitable gunsites; we were coming up from the N. towards the road which runs past Stonehenge, and between us and the road lay a small copse; suddenly we saw a very small aircraft dive straight downward into the wood and disappear into the trees.; we raced the jeep up to give assistance; there was no sign of a crash - nothing... Suddenly I heard the W/O shout; he was standing white-faced before a large stone cairn commemmorating the first death from an aeroplane crash in this country in 1912". As I recall, either Wiltshire's book or Drake's letter, confuses this incident with the death of the showman and kitemaker, W.F.Cody, which actually occurred at Farnborough. (Regrettably I've mislaid my notes on this). Alan Crooks
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