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Help required to complete painting of fighter plane that crashed at Leysdown

By John Nurden

Can you help Sheppey artist John Gervaux Ross finish this painting?

It is of Bristol Beaufighter R2257 that crash-landed at Leysdown during a routine Second World War training exercise on July 7, 1942.

The painting has been commissioned by historian Caleb Watson, who wants to install a memorial at the crash site but needs to know what the target on the beach looked like.

Sheppey artist John Gervaux Ross, left, with Caleb Watson
Sheppey artist John Gervaux Ross, left, with Caleb Watson

He is appealing for anyone who might remember, or have photos, to contact Eastchurch Aviation Museum, on the site at HMP Standford Hill in Old Mill Green, where the picture will go on show.

Two airmen, pilot Reginald Walford, 31, and married gunner Eustace Whitmore, 26, died in the crash and are buried at Maidstone Cemetery.

Last year a team from the museum, supported by Swale Search and Recovery, searched for remains of the aircraft.

A Bristol Beaufighter
A Bristol Beaufighter

Mr Watson said: “As a tribute to the two brave men, a memorial stone will be placed where the aircraft crashed, and the museum will display the painting.

“To get the painting as historically accurate as possible, we need help finding any photographs of the Leysdown targets.”

If you can help, call Peter West on 01795 510468.

Eastchurch Aviation Museum is leading Swale’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

There will be a plaque unveiling and a march-past of cadets at 11am on Saturday, March 24.

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