Wreath-laying ceremony in Skarrild on 5 May 2004
In 2004 the beautiful tradition of laying a wreath on the RAF graves in Skarrild will mark the 60th anniversary of the shooting down and the burial in 1944 of four British, one Australian and two Canadian airmen from WW2.
At first the grave only had a simple wooden cross made by the Germans but since 1946 a beautiful monument has marked the fliers grave and since then the local population has gathered proudly by the grave once a year, either on the British Remembrance Day, November 11th, on the anniversary of the shooting down of the plane, 27 August, or on the Danish Liberation Day, May 5th.
Representatives of the Danish Liberation Movement laid down the wreath for many years after the war, later wreaths were laid by the Home Guard which also presented a guard of honour and since 1963 officers from Karup Air Base have laid a wreath at the memorial every year on May 5th.
The ceremonies at the memorial have been particularly moving since 2002 when RAF veterans from the 57/630 Squadrons Association and officers from the RAF have been present. Some are veterans of the same bombing raid on the East Prussian city of Konigberg, now Kaliningrad, which proved fatal to the Lancaster bomber that was shot down near Skarrild.
These memorial ceremonies, no matter how long ago the incidents took place, are always intense and moving, and the entire world is reduced to a very small point when you are together in this way, said Squadron Leader Mervyn Davies, the President of the 57/630 Squadrons Association in 2002.
Hundreds of people from Skarrild and from abroad take part in the memorial ceremonies and in the subsequent service in the church in Skarrild. Afterwards the participants take refreshments in the village hall or in the new community centre.