YOU’VE done it!

Hereford Times readers and others have contributed a magnificent £5,000 in a little over two months to our Alan Blumlein Memorial Appeal.

The donations, large and small, have come in through a page on the JustGiving website, and cheques posted to our offices in Holmer Road, Hereford.

People's generosity means we can now pay for a permanent memorial to Blumlein, an unsung hero of World War II whose contribution to radar technology was key to the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany.

He had been in a Halifax bomber that had been converted into a flying laboratory for tests on top-secret radar technology when it caught fire at 15,000ft and plunged to earth.

Blumlein and all the other 10 passengers and crew, including five other scientists were killed when it crashed on the banks of the River Wye at Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, in 1942.

Blumlein’s immense contribution to the war effort, as well as his development of stereo sound and other technical innovations, was hushed up after his death on the orders of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

He perhaps felt the loss of such an important scientist would give succour to the Nazis as they plotted their conquest of Europe.

So while the contributions of other Second World War boffins such as Alan Turing – who helped crack the Nazis’ Enigma code – and radar pioneer Sir Bernard Lovell have been lauded, Blumlein’s role has been largely overlooked.

The Hereford Times has been appealing to our readers to help us correct this injustice and pay tribute to his memory, and the others who died with him.

Now we are able to create permanent memorial to Blumlein and his colleagues in the form of a metal plaque mounted on a plinth near a riverside path overlooking the site of the tragedy.

When Blumlein's widow, Doreen, later visited the spot she remarked: "If you have to die, this is a beautiful place."

Our appeal has been spearheaded by Garth Lawson, the Hereford Times walks writer, who has long believed a tribute to Blumlein was overdue.

Reaction to the success of our appeal

Simon Blumlein, son of Alan Blumlein, is stressing that the “great news means that we should redouble our efforts to track down as many relatives as possible of those 10 other families, apart from my own, who were affected by the tragedy.

"I am particularly enthused that the memorial stone will bear inscriptions of all 11 names, my mother’s thoughts when she visited the area and that the stone will not be obtrusive in such a beautiful landscape.”

Alan Blumlein, administrator of the official Blumlein website, called to say that it is so gratifying that the world is at last catching up with the exploits of his grandfather.

“Not only do we have the exciting development of the permanent memorial at Welsh Bicknor but the Blumlein name has been included in an impressive array of scientists whose face has been nominated to appear on the new £50 note.”

Charles Blumlein, another grandson, said: “Thanks to Garth and the Hereford Times for all your hard work and dedication to the memorial stone project.”

Caryn Tomlinson,who chairs the EMI Archive Trust, the biggest single contributors to the fund, said: "We are thrilled to be part of the Blumlein Memorial. Thank you for the incredible hard work you’re doing to deliver this for all the families involved.”

Jerome Vaughan of the Courtfield Estate, who has kindly agreed to have the memorial on his land, said: “I am really pleased that we have pushed on with the project, and that we are to be commended on reaching such an advanced position.”

David Scaysbrook, consultant forensic scientist, who has donated his fees for Blumlein talks to the Hereford Times Blumlein Memorial Appeal, said: “Excellent news that you have raised the money. Now that you have reached the target I’ll donate from now on to the RAF Benevolent Fund. I have made contact with the pilot's son who will be attending one of my talks at Goodrich".

John Prime, who will own the stone and is liaising with friends in Goodrich to whom Mr Scaysbrook will be giving one of his talks, said: “That’s great news."

John Kinross, of Much Birch, former of RAF Credenhill, said: “The co-pilot [of Blumlein's plane] was Pilot Officer AM Phillips, whose name appeared on our school war memorial. We asked at Goodrich Church if they could mention all the names of those in the tragedy on their war memorial. Unfortunately, there was not enough space, so a separate memorial is an excellent idea.”