By Linda foo guest
A SERVICE will be held in Wirral in memory of an American air pilot who died during the Second World War.
On January 9, 1944, a USAAF P47 Thunderbolt plunged from the sky over Saughall Massie killing pilot 2nd Lt Jay Frederick Simpson.
He was from the 8th American Air Force Service Command, and had took off from Burtonwood, near Warrington, at 14.30 hours on a test flight along with eight other aircraft.
The plane could not be contacted by radio, and at 15.59 hours all aircraft except the P-47D 42-75584 had landed.
Overdue action was taken on this plane, and at 16.30 hours it was reported to have crashed at 15.08 near Saughall Massie with the loss of the 27-year-old pilot.
A memorial plaque was placed at Saughall Massie in March 2005 in memory of 2nd Lt Simpson.
This Thursday at 15.08, the reported time of the crash, the Warplane Wreck Investigation Group (WWIG), based at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, will mark the occasion by laying flowers at the Saughall Massie plaque.
Flowers will also be laid on the salvaged engine of his Republic Thunderbolt aircraft, which is on display at the group’s museum in Fort Perch Rock.
WWIG recovered the engine in 1973 and it is now the museum’s main exhibit.
During the recovery, a gold ring was found which was returned to Krause-Simpson, the American legion post in his hometown of Gillett in Wisconsin, USA.
2nd Lt Simpson was laid to rest at the American Cemetery in Madingley, near Cambridge.
Doug Darroch, curator of the musuem, said: “These men deserved to be remembered in giving their lives for a free world.
“We don’t know why the aircraft crashed, but 2nd Lt Simpson tried to avoid houses when he looked for a place to land.
“The Thunderbolt was massive aircraft and was difficult to land. Simpson didn’t have a lot flying time with the aircraft before the flight test. There will be quite a few people attending the remembrance on Thursday – we shall remember him.”
The museum also houses the engine salvaged from the Spitfire fighter that crashed into Birkenhead Park in WW2.