A PLAQUE commemorating the 60th anniversary of an air disaster in which eight people died will be unveiled this weekend.

Seven airmen and an air cadet died when a Wellington bomber and Martinet training aircraft collided over Hudswell, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, on August 13, 1951.

The plaque will be dedicated in the village’s Jubilee Garden at noon on Saturday.

Air cadet Derek Coates was the only survivor of the crash. Flight Lieutenant John Quinton was given a posthumous George Cross for strapping the young cadet into the only accessible parachute, ensuring his survival.

Witnesses saw parts of both planes rain down on the village, but fortunately, no one on the ground was hurt.

Among those killed were cadet Corporal Malcolm Bruton, from Middlesbrough.

The planes had taken off from RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire, on a training exercise and collided in low cloud.

Soliders from nearby Catterick stood guard over the wrecked aircraft, which crashed in fields.

At the time, witness Fred Carr told The Northern Echo: “We heard a thud and within seconds there were splinters and all kinds falling from the clouds.

“The starboard engine, which was torn from the plane, missed our house by yards. We were sure we were for it.”

John Ward, of Richmond, who helped organise the plaque with friends, said: “There has been no memorial of this disaster and no record of the bravery of one man and the miraculous survival of one air cadet.”

As well as Cpl Bruton and Flight Lieutenant Quinton GC, the other victims were Pilot Officer Frank Leslie Farrell, Pilot Officer Edwin George Garrett; Flt Lt Alexander Hannay; Flying Officer Peter Keeling; Flying Officer Dawyck Veitch and Flying Officer George Trotman.

Members of the public are welcome to the unveiling, which will be attended by representatives from RAF Leeming and the Middlesbrough Air Training Corps, as well as people who saw the crash.

A letter will be read from Mr Coates, who now lives in Australia, before John Quinton’s son, Roger, unveils the plaque.

Those attending are urged to arrive early, as air cadets will march from the village hall to Jubilee Garden at noon.