On this day in history : 23rd August 1944 – An American Liberator bomber crashes into an English village school in Feckleton, Lancashire – killing 61 people, 38 of whom are children….

Two recently refurbished B-24 bombers had departed from Warton Aerodrome at 10.30 in the morning on a test flight, when a violent storm blew up…. Both aircraft were recalled to the USAAF airbase and as they approached visibility was greatly reduced because of the torrential rain and 60mph gusts of wind….

B-24H Liberator bomber – similar to the one that crashed. Image : United States Army Air Forces – Public domain

Pilot John Blosmendal, in the first of the two bombers, reported to the control tower that he was going to abort his landing attempt and would circle around again – only his aircraft was to disastrously crash into the Holy Trinity Church of England village school, which lay to the east of the airfield…. The right wing of the B-24 was ripped from the fuselage as it hit a tree-top; it then impacted with the corner of a building…. The fuselage of the 25-ton bomber then continued to plough a path of destruction, partly demolishing three houses and ‘The Sad Sack Snack Bar’ – which catered for the American servicemen stationed at the base…. The aircraft then burst into flames, whilst another inferno raged, caused by the ruptured fuel tanks of the bomber, at the infants school….

The Feckleton air disaster instantly claimed the lives of the B-24’s three crew members, thirty-four children, a teacher, six American servicemen, one RAF airman and seven staff at the snack bar…. A further four children, a teacher, an American serviceman and three RAF airmen died later in hospital – and many more people were injured….

Feckleton Air Disaster Memorial and Remembrance Garden

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