Since creating this site I have been contacted by a lot of people. Here are some of their comments (italics are mine).
Hugh Houghton (pilot of Wellington T2905)
I am so glad that everything went so well (at the memorial dedication ceremony) and completely justified all the hard work that you devoted to this great enterprise to commemorate your grandfather's untimely death. I, for my part, am also greatly honoured by your very gracious inclusion of my own name and those of my injured colleagues on your memorial. That was very kind of you.
The memorial itself looks stunning in its very simplicity and will stand the test of time. I am glad also that you felt that my address, even in its shortened form, did full justice to the occasion and set the seal, so to speak, on the solemnity of this occasion. I thought that you judged it very well.
It was a great pleasure to assist you in any way possible. You did a fine job.
Joan (widow of John Stuart Jones, navigator of Wellington T2905)
I must write and thank you on behalf of my children, who have all looked at your website. John said it was brilliant and they all agree it is very informative.
One good thing is that my eleven grandchildren can read about Stuart and see how he was disabled and burnt. They can see in spite of his disabilities he went back to flying.
You are right to make people aware about the bravery and sacrifice of the airmen during the war.
My children cannot believe that Stuart and I didn't discuss his accident. I was aware of course he had been badly burnt in a plane crash but he didn't say how it had happened and I didn't ask.
Thank you again for all the work you must have put in to make the website so good.
Bridgit (cousin of Betty & Martin Bools)
Your website has added to my limited knowledge of the event. My initial information came from catching the 2001/2002 Radio Bristol broadcast; this must have been when you were doing your research. As often happens despite close family links with Betty and my interest in family history, events such as this only come to light when the people involved are no longer around to talk to. Thank you for adding to my family history.
Peter Skellon (conductor of thr RAF Association (SW) Concert Band)
It wasn't a full band complement on the day (of the Dedication Ceremony) but it certainly was a memorable one for the musicians who played, many of them being ex-RAF Music Services. We all felt it was an honour to be part of the Ceremony.
Richard from Bristol
I heard your interview on Radio Bristol this morning and was fascinated by the story, not least that the pilot was still alive and gave a very clear report on his recollections. I have a limited knowledge of the area where the crash occurred and will make a point of visiting St Andrews Park when I am next anywhere near. In addition to the tragedy of War, it is particularly tragic to hear of the huge number of young airmen killed in training excercises, including you Grandfather. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Robert from Bristol
Just as a very minor comment, I recall seeing the crash site as a young child living and attendng school in the area. This was probably the morning after. My main recollection was a wing with a roundel sticking almost vertically up into the air. The wreckage was not quite where it was described in the local paper article. It was nearer the bottom of the present playground. For many years afterward the base stump of the tree which was uprooted by the incident remained in the park just below the present paddling pool. It became a local park landmark and was used as a "climbing frame" and meeting place until the paddling pool was constructed on the site of the wartime static water tank. The "Polish crew" version of the story also included a comment that they had apparently been lost and flown around for a long time before becoming entangled in the balloon cable. I appreciate that this does not add much, if anything, to your knowledge of the incident but I can still remember the sight very clearly.
Roger Lewis from Bristol
My father, Jack Lewis, was in a hospital bed in the BRI, next to one of the surviving crew members. What he was told is confirmed by your researches. He understood that they were on their final training before going operational, and that they had become hopelessly lost. They had no idea that that they were flying into Bristol. My father thought the crew-man was the co-pilot. The ward was a surgical ward as Dad had recently lost a leg in an accident, working on the Railways, the name Baker Ward comes to mind.
It's an excellent website, and will be valued here in Bristol where myths about the crash abound. I wish I had pressed my Dad for more details but he rarely spoke about those times, I think his own experience was too painful to recall.