Most people know the Polish war memorial on Netherfield Hill, commemorating three of the crew of a Wellington bomber which crashed nearby on the night of 27/28th May 1941. Much less well known is the memorial to Pilot Officer Meaker, a fighter pilot who died on the night of 27th September 1940, at the age of 21. The Battle of Britain Memorial website has his story, at http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Meaker.htm where I read “Meaker shared in the destruction of a Me110 on 27th September. On this day he was shot down by return fire from a Ju88. He baled out but fell dead at Warren Field, Brightling Park. His Hurricane, P3834, crashed at Brake Field, Giffords Farm, Dallington. In 1990 a memorial was placed near the spot where he was killed.” Tantalisingly, the website gives no further details of the location of the 1990 memorial.
This was all drawn to my attention by a post on the Brightling Nextdoor pages, from Mr Charlie Leslie, who had been trying to find the memorial. After a lot of web searching we found a slightly more precise location, and then an intensive scrutiny of Google Streetview revealed a suspicious glint behind a hedge. We had found it! – it is on the south side of the B2096, a few yards east of the entrance to Giffords Farm Cottages. Charlie Leslie then ventured out and took these photos.
A remaining mystery is the location of the Warren Field, Brightling Park, where Meaker’s body fell to earth. We know from the BBM website that it was about two miles north of where the plane crashed, and presumably quite near Brightling Park Stables, as this is where the body was first taken to after being discovered. Does anyone know which is or was the Warren Field, or the exact location?
In the course of this investigation I have learned quite a lot about this young hero (he was posthumously awarded the DFC) and the events in Brightling on the night of 27th September 1940. I am hoping that we can publish the full story in the September issue of the Messenger, which would mark the 80th anniversary of the crash.