Models of downed bomber presented to family members

Rachel Elkin, granddaughter of Sergeant Jack Ottaway,

Rachel Elkin, granddaughter of Sergeant Jack Ottaway, pilot of the downed Hampden bomber, with one of the models, and right, a diorama of a Handley Page Hampden bomber made by Nigel Pearce. - Credit: Supplied by David Russell

Models of a Royal Air Force bomber which crashed in north Norfolk more than 80 years ago have been gifted to relatives of its crew. 

Pat Le Ray, whose brother, Sergeant Stanley Elliott, was the wireless operator/air gunner on the X3023 Handley Page Hampden, said the models were a "wonderful gesture" which would give her a sense of closure.

Mrs Le Ray, 82, who lives near York, said: "I've had a lot of help and assistance from people in north Norfolk, and now they have made this model which is absolutely brilliant. It's a nice surprise."

Models of the Second World War aircraft were made by David Russell, from Roughton, and Nigel Pearce, to be given to Mrs Le Ray, as well as sisters Rachel Elkin and Joanna Green, whose grandfather, Sergeant Jack Ottaway, 25, of Watton, was the bomber's pilot.

Rachel Elkin, granddaughter of Sergeant Jack Ottaway, pilot of the downed Hampden bomber, with one of the models 

Rachel Elkin, granddaughter of Sergeant Jack Ottaway, pilot of the downed Hampden bomber, with one of the models - Credit: Supplied by David Russell

Mr Russell said: "This is something that we had been planning to do for some time. I know the families are very appreciative to know that they are still thought of and not forgotten."

The bomber crashed into woodland at Northrepps on November 20, 1940, after it was attacked on a mission to occupied Europe.

The bomber never reached its target after taking off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and the crew may have decided to turn back after coming under fire shortly after crossing the Dutch coast. 

Most Read

Sgt Ottaway is said to have displayed "supreme airmanship" in flying the plane over the North Sea in atrocious weather.

As well as Sgt Ottaway and Sgt Elliot, the crash also claimed the life of navigator, Pilot Officer Archie Kerr.

Another air gunner, Sergeant Stanley Hird, survived the crash. 

A diorama of a Handley Page Hampden bomber made by Nigel Pearce.

A diorama of a Handley Page Hampden bomber made by Nigel Pearce. - Credit: Supplied by David Russell

Mrs Elkin, who lives in Happisburgh, said at a service for the downed airmen last year: “Their courage and their selflessness is mind blowing and extremely humbling. 

“Eighty years is but a chapter in a history book, but when I picture Jack and his chums in the mess, string band in the background, enjoying a few beers before the next insane raid, it is a world away from our lives today."

A Handley Page Hampden. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAIN

A Handley Page Hampden. Picture: PUBLIC DOMAIN - Credit: Archant

Sergeant Jack Ottaway, who was the pilot on the Handley Page Hampden that crashed at Northrepps on N

Sergeant Jack Ottaway, who was the pilot on the Handley Page Hampden that crashed at Northrepps on November 20, 1940. Picture: Supplied by David Russell - Credit: Archant

Sergeant Stanley Elliott, who was the wireless operator/air gunner on the Handley Page Hampden that

Sergeant Stanley Elliott, who was the wireless operator/air gunner on the Handley Page Hampden that crashed at Northrepps on November 20, 1940. Picture: Supplied by David Russell - Credit: Archant

The memorial plaque for the crew of the Handley Page Hampden bomber, which crashed in Northrepps woo

The memorial plaque for the crew of the Handley Page Hampden bomber, which crashed in Northrepps woodland during the Second World War. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter