Local Hero – Captain John Perrin

The memorial you can see below is just a few hundred metres from where I grew up. Although it’s close to junction 14 of the M6 there are beautiful farm fields, spinneys and streams nearby. I ran and hid and splashed in these fields, punctured tyres, suffered nettle rashes, all the usual.

What I didn’t know was that on 4 July 1944 a Mustang P-51D had crashed into a wheat-field here, close to Home Farm and the brilliantly named Sleeper’s Spinney.

USAAF pilot Captain Perrin – an ‘ace’ fighter who had shot down five German aircraft – was delivering the Mustang to Cambridgeshire when something went wrong and the plane was seen to catch fire. Heroically Capt. Perrin did not eject and stayed at his controls to avoid crashing into the populated North End of Stafford, avoiding schools, houses and a hospital.

Sadly, the New Jersey-born pilot died in the crash. What a sacrifice, such a long way from home.

I had no idea this had happened and the land has since been developed, perhaps inevitably given its location alongside the M6, for warehouses and logistics businesses.

The memorial is signposted from the M6 and A34, but many people are unaware of it despite the great efforts of Creswell Parish Council and others to set it up and mark the courage and bravery of this local hero.

The estate road is named Mustang Drive. You can read more here at the parish council’s website


20 thoughts on “Local Hero – Captain John Perrin

    1. It would be nice in fields but in fairness the developer provided much of the funding as it was built alongside. I’m glad he’s at last recognised, Pete, as we were taught nothing about him as kids. His kin in NJ should be very proud….

  1. Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:
    I am reblogging this from Rich’s site for the interest of all my American readers. You might like to know that your servicemen who died in Britain in WW2 are not forgotten, and they are honoured and respected by this country. Just like this brave man.

  2. There had been a similar event in India with MIG 19 planes. But rather than praising the pilot for saving lives by crashing in fields rather than busy city, the politicians called him a lousy flier. They wanted to hide the fact that the MIG 19 planes had been crashing too often killing precious soldiers.

  3. The Royal Air Forces Association Stafford Branch commemorate along with Creswell Parish council his sacrifice every year near to July 4th where we parade on Standard.

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