The Hereford Times has handed over a donation to an Armed Forces charity on behalf of its readers.

The money was all that remained from our successful appeal last year to create a memorial to 11 men killed in a wartime aeroplane crash in Herefordshire.

Readers and several organisations contributed £5,000 to pay for a stone plinth to mark the spot where the men – scientists and aircrew – perished when a secret radar testing flight came to grief.

RELATED NEWS: Memorial to wartime scientists and airmen unveiled

Now the £1,800 left over after the costs of the memorial were met has been handed to the RAF Benevolent Fund, which provides financial, practical and emotional support to serving and former members of the RAF.

The cheque was presented by Hereford Times walks writer Garth Lawson to Air Vice Marshal Michael Smart at a ceremony attended by Air Commodore Tim Howson and members of the air cadets of OC 124 (Hereford City) Squadron at Suvla Barracks, Hereford. It was Garth who first suggested the need for a memorial and who spearheaded our fund-raising campaign.

The memorial commemorates the 11 men who flew from RAF Defford, Worcestershire, in June 1942 on a secret mission to test cutting-edge radar equipment. The project was led by radar legend Bernard Lovell (later Sir Bernard).

The men perished when their converted Halifax bomber caught fire and plunged to earth at a beautiful but isolated spot by the river Wye at Welsh Bicknor.

They included scientist Alan Blumlein, whose contribution to the war effort was so significant that his death was hushed up by Prime Minister Winston Churchill for fear that it would give succour to the Nazis.

Today the device on which Blumlein and his colleagues were working – the resonant cavity magnetron – is still a key radar component, but has also found a more everyday use: it is a key part of a domestic microwave oven!

The RAF personnel who died were Pilot Officer DJD Berrington, Navigator Flight Sergeant G Millar, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Aircraftman 2nd Class BCF Bicknell, Flight Engineer Leading Airman BDG Dear, Second Pilot Flying Officer AM Phillips and Squadron Leader RJ Sansom.

We have been able to track down the families of Mr Phillips and Mr Dear to tell them about the memorial, but not the remaining four. If anyone is in contact with their relatives please let us know: