Crashed US pilot wreckage to be auctioned

Crewe Guardian: Auctioneer Chris Large with the engine part at the memorial to Lt. Brown. Auctioneer Chris Large with the engine part at the memorial to Lt. Brown.

AS the country prepares to mark Remembrance Day, Nantwich fine art auctioneers Peter Wilson have announced a sale that brings added poignancy to this year’s ceremony in the town.

Included in an auction commencing three days after Remembrance Sunday is a small but iconic piece of the wreckage of a fighter plane, whose heroic American pilot steered away from houses before crashing into the River Weaver.

Each year, wreaths of poppies are laid on the banks of the river behind houses on Shrewbridge Road, at the memorial to 23-year-old 1st Lieutenant Arthur L. Brown of the U.S. Army Air Force.

It was there, on January 14, 1944, that the Thunderbolt fighter flown by the New York pilot crashed and sank in quicksand.

It is thought the plane developed engine trouble, but rather than bail out, he stayed at the controls to avoid plunging into the town centre.

Neither Lt. Brown’s body, nor the main structure of the aircraft, was ever recovered.

However, among the small amount of wreckage at the scene was what is believed to be a valve rocker arm, stamped ‘Made in USA’, from the plane’s engine.

Auctioneer Chris Large, said: “My father and I visit the memorial every year, usually on Christmas Day, to pay our respects, and it is very moving when wreaths are laid on Remembrance Sunday.

“Whilst I have read about the incident, I would love to meet anyone who knows more about what happened that day.

“I think it might sell for around £100, but its significance is far greater than its monetary value.”

The relic will be offered on Wednesday, November 14.

For further information, contact Chris Large on 01270 623878.

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