A MEMORIAL service will mark 70 years since a Spitfire crashed in Birkenhead Park during the Second World War.
The Spitfire Mark 2a plummeted to the ground on October 14, 1942, close to Park Road East and the Cole Street entrance to the park.
It was piloted by American Douglas Cooper Goudie, who was flying for the Canadian Air Force on a test flight from RAF Hawarden.
He bailed out after losing a propeller, landing safely on the roof of a Liverpool hospital with only a sprained ankle.
The memorial service will take place at 2pm.
The anniversary of the crash will also be commemorated by an exhibition in Birkenhead Park Visitor centre from October 13 to 21 and a concert by the Royal Air Force Regiment Band at the Floral Pavilion on October 14.
The events are being organised by Birkenhead Royal British Legion, rangers at Birkenhead Park and Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton – where the plane’s engine and other parts are on display.
Steve Hutchinson, vice chairman of Birkenhead Royal British Legion, said: “This is living history, remembering a momentous struggle for peace in the 1940s.
“It also links to Birkenhead during the war. It was a vibrant, thriving town, especially with the shipbuilding industry.
“The RAF band has never played in Wirral before and the Floral is an excellent venue.”
All proceeds from the concert will go to Birkenhead Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal 2012.
The memorial service will be followed by light refreshments at the Legion in Park Road East at 2pm.
One of those who witnessed the crash as a child was the late Doug Darroch senior of Fort Perch Rock.
His ambition to excavate the remains of the aircraft came to fruition in 2007, when its engine was recovered by the Fort’s Warplane Wreck Investigation Group.
Mr Darroch’s son, also Doug, curator at Fort Perch Rock, said: “The crash is a great part of Wirral aviation history and we’re very pleased the occasion is being commemorated. As a family we grew up knowing all about the Spitfire in the park.”
Organisers are appealing for any older Wirral residents who remember the crash to share their memories as part of the exhibition.
If you can help call Birkenhead Park Visitor Centre on 652 5197 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for the RAF band concert are £12 from 666 0000 or www.floralpavilion.com