|Death: ||Aug. 23, 1944|
A special Thank You to Armantia for the transfer of Edna's page!
UPDATE, JUNE 2016: From the U.K. Census site -
Edna R Askew
District: Clitheroe ... County: Lancashire ... Year: 1939 ...
Mother's Maiden Name: Simpson ... Quarter: 1 ... Volume: 8e ...
Page: 279 ...
Edna Rae Askew was one of 38 children killed on 23, August 1944 when a U.S. military airplane being tested was possibly struck by lightning, crashing into Holy Trinity School in the village of Freckleton. Two teachers, civilians on the ground, three homes, a small cafe for enlisted men and the majority of those in the cafe were also killed.
Storms came up suddenly on the day of the crash, and two B-24s already in air were recalled, with weather warnings; however, by the time the order to return to ground had been issues, winds had reached 60 mph, flash flooding was being reported in Blackpool and other areas, and water spouts were appearing in the Ribble Estuary.
1st Lieutenant John Blomendahl, the pilot of the second aircraft - the "Classy Chassis II" - reported that he was aborting landing at the last moment, and would circle round again. Within minutes, the aircraft struck Freckleton, east of the airfield.
It was determined that the aircraft's wings were nearly vertical when it hit a treetop and then impacted with the corner of a building; one of the wings was immediately sheared away and continued along the ground, into hedges. The 25 ton bomber's fuselage demolished three homes and the Sad Sack Cafe before crossing the road and bursting into flames. The fuselage then struck the infant wing of Freckleton Holy Trinity School, its' fuel igniting a sea of flames.
The official decision regarding the crash was listed as unknown, but it was questioned whether the American pilot may have been unprepared for the sudden weather changes in English rain - a 'shower' can go quickly to thunderstorms, and worse.
Edna was the daughter of John William and Dorothy Askew; the family address is listed in paperwork as Old Preston Road, Freckleton at the time of the tragedy. There seems to be paperwork supporting the thought that a John Askew who died in 1942, two years before the Freckleton Disaster, was in fact Edna's father...HOWEVER, I have recently been contacted and informed that Edna's father in fact was killed literally days before his daughter died, and this may be a case of two different John Askews. I am researching the matter and will update pages, asap. I do wonder whether the Askew family is being confused with the family of another Freckleton victim, whose father was in fact KIA the same week that his daughter died in the school tragedy.
John Askew (____ - 1942)
Holy Trinity Churchyard
Maintained by: Rhonda C./Friends
Originally Created by: Armantia
Record added: Mar 20, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49973752