Memorial service for the fourteen dead airmen to be held at the abandoned Armada Road Air Strip at Rasgovindpur in Mayurbhanj

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Rasgovindpur: Very few people know that the skies of Odisha had seen the crash of two giant aircrafts which has collided against each other and resulted in the deaths of 14 airmen. On the 26th of July 1945 two British Royal Air Force B-24 Liberator four-engine bombers, EW225 and EW247, collided at low altitude. The aircrafts were based at the secret Amarda Road airfield and were part of a six-plane contingent from the Air Fighting Training Unit engaged in a formation flying exercise. Fourteen airmen – the crews of the two aircraft – died in the crash. The airmen belonged to Britain, Netherlands, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. One of them was an Indian.

The Rasgovindpur Airstrip, (as it is known today) has a short but secret illustrious history which has never been made public. It had the longest runway in Asia, more than 2.5 kms long. The total runways, taxiways, aprons etc were more than 60 kms. The Amarda Road airstrip, as it was called in war terminology, spreads across an area of nearly 800 acres. Built in the 1940’s at a cost of Rs 3 crore it was eventually abandoned after the war. It was named as the Amarda Road Airfield due to the nearby Amarda Road railway station.

This discovery was made by Anil Dhir in 2011 and since then a service is held for the dead airmen every year at the airstrip. On the 26th of July 2017, ( 10 A.M to 11 A.M ) a memorial service for the fourteen dead airmen will be held at the abandoned Armada Road Air Strip at Rasgovindpur in Mayurbhanj District. Wreaths will be laid for each of the dead airmen. The ceremony will be attended by local people including school children. Please send your reporter to the site. It is 28 kms away from Baripada Town, 23 kms from Jaleswar, 38 kms from Balasore and 9 Kms from the Amarda Road Railway Station, very near to the Mahatma Gandhi Eye Hospital at Rangamatia village.

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