Park Farm, The Soup Run, and a Brief History
Southern Section diary
Southern Section diary
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the 3 young Americans who gave their lives in the defence of our freedom.
It all began on the Soup Run.
Early in the season and unseasonably warm, we were at the end of the party; we were some of stragglers you can’t seem to get rid of when the party’s over. Despite this, James invited us up to the top field to see the view - and it was well worth the bumpy ride.
The vista stretched from The Isle of Wight in the West to beyond Littlehampton in the East. James pointed to various features on the landscape starting with some of the taller buildings before moving on to the bomber crash site, the copse where evidence of an English Civil War skirmish had been discovered recently, and then he explained the air traffic lane strategies that existed during World War 2 over his family farm.
of the Liberator
With further developments in the bomber crash story expected when September’s American visitors arrived, this was a story that us, the privileged stragglers, thought would fascinate a much wider audience. Roll forward to January 12,2020, and we had convinced James to share the story he was clearly so passionate about. We were not disappointed!
James’s presentation was well planned, starting with the early history of Park Farm, Arundel, its relationship to the Castle and his Grandparents’ migration from Honiton in the early part of the 20th Century.
The role of the farm during wartime (1st and 2nd World Wars) was described before moving onto his Father’s recollection of the USAF Liberator Bomber crashing into one of the fields in 1944.
There was a remarkable amount of information about the aircraft’s mission, her crew, and her sad ending in a field in Sussex including photographs and crew logs. Landing in a fireball, the final resting place of what little was left of the Liberator also became a tomb for 3 members of the flight crew who had failed to escape their stricken plane. Moving forward 75 years and beyond the crude excavation of 1974 that stripped what little was left of the plane of any of its major components, there was another more delicate archaeological excavation.
Park Farm from the air
The 2019 dig, prompted by contemporary wartime accounts and specialist investigations, revealed a few human bone fragments that were removed for DNA testing verifying the identities of the crew. Fastidiously checked for any further human bone fragments, the pit was then closed … but possibly not forever.
The talk was brought further to life with examples of some of the charred, distorted, Liberator components recovered from the field bringing a remarkable presentation to a quite remarkable end.
Thanks go to James for preparing and presenting such a fascinating talk.
The crew of the ill-fated Liberator of whom, the Flight Engineer (front row left) and 2 pilots (front row 3rd and 4th), lost their lives in a quiet field in Sussex in 1944
The 2019 Archaeology Team