HASLEMERE paid homage to the three brave World War II airmen who lost their lives in the 1942 Shottermill air crash, with a spectacular display by a lone Spitfire over Gibbet Hill last Sunday.

A memorial to three RAF airmen has stood near the site of the accident at Junction Place, Wey Hill, since 2013, thanks to a one-man mission by Mick Bradford.

Since then, he has held a remembrance service there annually and the Gibbet Hill homage followed this year’s service.

Haslemere ATC helped to erect the life-size reproduction Spitfire, that was on display at the Devil’s Punch Bowl, as part of this year’s commemoration.

It was above Gibbet Hill on September 22, 1942, that the doomed Douglas Boston night-flyer developed an engine fault, descending at high speed and full power into Polecat Valley.

The aircraft disintegrated above Lion Lane, with some of the wreckage smashing through the roof of the Rex Cinema in the middle of a screening, but miraculously the film-goers inside escaped with minor injuries.

Mr Bradford said: “I played William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue and the pilot came in as if by magic. He did victory rolls, waggled his wings and everyone applauded and begged for more.

“The money came from my late father’s estate and he would have loved this. It was a special gift from me and him.

“It was a hazy afternoon but magically there was a shaft of light just when the music started and the Spitfire came round the corner. Everyone gasped and said how moving it was.”