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WWII B-17 Memorial Remembrance to Honor Victims on 80th Anniversary of Crash

The B-17 Memorial Monument gives a brief account of the crash, which occurred on Sep. 5, 1943. It also depicts the crew and a B-17 Flying Fortress.

BY DAVID FISHER

david@magicvalleypublishing.com

A B-17 Memorial Remembrance ceremony will be held at the site of a WWII aircraft crash in northern Weakly County, on Sep. 9, 2023, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The patriotic observance, hosted by the North West TN Eagle Riders, will be held at the B-17 Memorial, located at 3675 East New Hope Church Road, Palmersville, TN.

The event commemorates the 80th anniversary of a military plane crash, which occurred between Palmersville and Latham, on Sep. 5, 1943, while a group of U.S. airmen were on a training mission. 

State and local dignitaries, as well as members of the community, plan on attending the ceremony honoring the memory of the seven airmen who were killed when their Army B-17 bomber crashed, as well as the three that survived.

Former U.S. Congressman John Tanner is a guest speaker at the rededication event. He is a retired member of the military, having served in the U.S. Navy (1968-1972) and the Tennessee Army National Guard (1974-2000). Tanner was born at the Dyersburg Army-Air Base in 1944. Coincidentally, this is the same air base where the crew aboard the doomed B-17 was stationed.

Dresden Attorney James Washburn will also be a guest speaker. The U.S. Marine was injured while serving in the Middle East several years ago. However, he didn’t let his injuries deter him. Instead, after he came home from the war, Washburn pursued his law degree and is now an assistant prosecutor for the 27th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Washburn is also a Weakley County Commissioner representing District 9.   

Joe Means, who witnessed the crash as a boy, will also speak during the ceremony.

Judge Tommy Moore will lead the group in singing the National Anthem.

The Boy Scout Troop #1776 will present the colors.

Additionally, Tim Bevins, historian for the Dyersburg Army-Air Base will be on hand. The Riders plan on presenting Bivens with a copy of the book, “The Lucky Ones: Airmen of the Mighty Eighth,” by Erik Dyreborg. The book contains a chapter entitled, “The Mystery Crew,” which recalls the Weakley County B-17 crash. The author tells the story, based on the official military records of the event, which includes statements made by the three survivors. 

The Riders also have copies of the original photo of the crew that they are going to present to Bivens and June Kemp of the Palmersville Historical Society. 

Visitors can park along the roadway and golf carts will be used to shuttle them to the site.

There will be chairs and tents set up at the location where the ceremony will take place. 

Additionally, refreshments will be served after the event.

The inscription on the monument, describing the crash, was quoted from an article written by Robert Glen Reynolds of Dresden, who operates the Tennessee Good Old Days blog.

As visitors view the front of the monument from East New Hope Church Road, they will be facing north toward the Obion River Bottom in the distance, where the crash occurred.

1 Comment

  1. Lynnette on September 30, 2023 at 3:44 pm

    One name on this monument is incorrect. It is not Forland Nincehelser, his name was GARLAND Nincehelser! He was my great uncle. I really hope they can fix this!

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