A POIGNANT service in memory of a crew of RAF airmen whose aircraft crashed during the Second World War is returning to Colchester for its 80th anniversary.

The lives of seven airmen were lost on April 25, 1944, as their Lancaster bomber was attacked by a German intruder near Diss, Norfolk.

In 2013, a group of friends who meet regularly on a Sunday in Great Horkesley established a memorial pillar at Safestore in Ipswich Road.

They have held a memorial service every year since on the Sunday closest to the crash date.

The group was started by Roy (Lofty) Tolhurst in 2007, who was one of the main people behind establishing the memorial.

Lofty died last September so will also be mentioned at the start of this year’s service.

Gazette: Group - the 308 Squadron Colchester ATC at last year's serviceGroup - the 308 Squadron Colchester ATC at last year's service (Image: Chris Stanfield)

The service pays respect to the RAF crew who died nearby now 80 years ago.

The Lancaster bomber was returning from a raid in Karlsruhe, Germany, back to Wickenby in Lincolnshire when it was attacked

During the attack the bomber tried to carry out a landing at Boxted airfield which was an American air base at the time.

By this time the aircraft was well alight and spiralled out of control near a site which is now Severalls Business Park.

The tail plane, the only recognizable piece of wreckage ended up close to where Safestore’s reception area is now situated.

The aircraft was set on fire and was seen burning down one side by several witnesses over Colchester just before it crashed at 4.10am.

Gazette: Remembered - the memorial site in Ipswich RoadRemembered - the memorial site in Ipswich Road (Image: Chris Stanfield)

This year is the 80th anniversary of the event, as well as the 80th year since the Normandy landings, often referred to as D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Last year’s service saw members of the Royal Air Force Auxiliary Reserve 4626 Squadron from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

The 4626 RAuxAF squadron gave an address with Boxted Silver Brass Band members nearby.

This year’s event will be on Sunday, April 28, beginning at 11am.

It will take place outside the Safestore, at 572 Ipswich Road, CO4 9HB and is open for anyone to attend.