WW2 aircrew memorial

£369 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 14 people in 5 months
A LONG WAY FROM HOME. On Monday 19th June 1944, a formation of about 30 American B17 "Flying Fortress" bombers from the 379th Bombardment Group, was returning from a mission against a V1 launching site in Northern France. Most of them had taken hits, and quite a few of them were flying home with smoking engines, but one of them in particular had been very badly damaged by the German Flak.  For the pilot of that aircraft, 2nd Lt. Armand John Ramacitti, this was his first combat mission. Flying close to his section leader, he was having a great deal of trouble flying his stricken bomber but they were now only about 15 minutes away from their base and he was determined they would make it. He had already lost one of his four engines; now, as the formation neared Allhallows in North Kent, another engine was giving up. Already desperately wrestling with the bomber's flak-blasted controls, that was the last thing he needed. Jockeying the throttles on his remaing engines, he was trying to somehow compensate for the dropping power when without warning, his B17 side-slipped sickeningly to Starboard, literally dropping out of his hands, and collided  with the aircraft of his section leader. As the two planes separated, Ramacitti's aircraft turned upside down, lost its Port wing and went straight down into the muddy waters of the Thames Estuary. Only one of the nine crew members survived; the Bombardier 2nd Lt Theo Chronopolos. The plane crashed about 500 yards off the seafront at Allhallows. All but one of the crew's bodies were recovered. Only that of the Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Cecil Tognazzini, remains "missing"; more than likely still trapped in the wreckage of the bomber in the soft Thames mud. The section leader's plane came down at Canvey Point in Essex and six of the crew survived. There is a memorial to them at Canvey  but Ramacitti and his crew have no such memorial where their plane crashed. This year is the 75th anniversary of the crash and it seems a fitting time to redress that situation in memory of those young airmen who gave their lives on their first mission. They never even had time to name their aircraft or to have their official crew photo taken. I think they deserve and are long overdue for, a lasting monument. I am a local Driving Instructor by trade, but I have written many newspaper and magazine articles. I have also written a total of four books since 2001, all modern history, all published. I started this campaign having recently researched the crash. I think it is high time those brave young airmen were recognised and properly remembered, not left forgotten. Haven Holidays own the ground that overlooks the crash site and have generously agreed to provide the site for a memorial and some help toward getting this project started. I am hoping that the public will also get behind it. Ramacitti and the crew of B17G serial 44-6133, are a long way from home. We cannot remedy that, but we can acknowledge their effort and remember their sacrifice. Any and all surplus funding will be donated to the B 17 Preservation Trust at Duxford to keep Britain's ONLY airworthy B 17, the SALLY B, where she belongs; in the air as a flying memorial to the 79.000 American and British airmen who gave their lives in B 17's during World War 2.
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Nearly forgot!

For those of you who live in Medway a write up of the event will appear in THIS Thursday's edition of THE MEDWAY MESSENGER. It will also be on KENT ONLINE on Friday I think. Not sure if it will be in all of the KM Group papers across the county but definitely in the Medway edition!
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This is just to say "Thank you" to everybody who has supported this project over the past 6 months. The day went really well! The weather was great and we had a teally good turnout. I have yet to do the final maths but a rough calculation puts it that after everything was paid for, plus what we took on the day, I think the B 17 Trust will be getting somewhere between £250 -£300. That should prove helpful to them I hope!
I will be closing this page at the end of the week. Thank you all so much for your support!
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This will be the final update as the event is now just 3 weeks away.

Everything is just about set. The memorial is under construction and will be unveiled on the day jointly by Noel Tognazzini and Jeanne Cronis-Campbell, both of whom are related to members of 6133's crew.
All we need now is for the English weather to smile upon us and it should be a good day and a fitting tribute to those lost airmen.

It only remains for me once again to thank EVERYBODY who has supported this project. It would not have been possible without your kindness and your generosity. If any of you are near Allhallows on Saturday 22nd June, DO please come to the event! See it through to its completion as it were!

Thank you all so much!

Mitch.
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Additional update from yesterday:

My thanks to Noel Tognazzini for emailing me yesterday. I can now tell you that Noel is not coming from Australia but from Portland, Oregon which is of course in the USA. He also coming with Theo Chronopoulos' daughter! Theo was the sole survivor of Ramacitti's crew. I look forward to welcoming them both, and can further add that neither of them quite fit into the category of being "elderly" just yet! It seems I was a little misinformed initially!!!
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£369 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 14 people in 5 months
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SK
£50
Steven Kaufman
1 month ago
MB
£19
Mary Barton
3 months ago
DL
£25
David Lee
3 months ago
JH
£25
Jane Higgs
3 months ago
GT
£25
Gary Thomas
3 months ago
DF
£25
David Foxx
4 months ago
£25
John Kempton
4 months ago
£20
Georgina McKinnon
4 months ago
MC
£5
Mandy Carrol
4 months ago
£25
SC POCKNALL
4 months ago
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