Clyde "Sparky" Cosper saved the town of Princes Risborough on 13 November 1943.
The B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that Sparky was flying was on course to crash directly on the town. 26 year old Sparky bravely remained at the controls, managing to clear the rooftops and crash in a field well clear of the town. The full bomb load exploded on impact and the plane was blown to pieces.
"Miriam", the B17's nose name, had taken off earlier with its crew of 10 and was waiting for the other planes in the flight to join it. The mission was to bomb German U-boat berths at Bremen. The weather was bad, the take-off was dicey and the climb for altitude was worse. The plane flew into a thunder storm and the downdraft threw it into an abrupt dive. Sparky ordered the crew to bale out and the nine other men came down bruised, but alive.
A plaque marking Sparky's bravery and sacrifice is outside the library in Princes Risborough. In 1993, an ash tree was planted here to add to the memorial, though the library is not the crash site.
With 17 in total, all bordering a small stream, these are quite a feature of the area.
They may be 200 years old and have been regularly pollarded throughout their lifetime.
Pollarded trees are often found on parish boundaries. Project volunteer Russell Evans, a Princes Risborough resident, plans to find out if this is the case with the Wades Park Willows.
A Scots Pine tree growing on Pulpit Hill has an odd growth form in some of its branches.
This growth called 'Witches Broom', can be caused by fungus or sometimes bacteria; both stimulate prolific stunted bud growth.
These rare and intriguing growths provide unique habitats for tiny creatures such as mites and cuttings can be used to propagate bonsai trees.
It is rarely seen on pine in the UK though it is more common in the States.
Please park safely and walk to the special trees