Kingsbury Pond Grist Mill Memorial Bench Dedication 6/3


Gristmill water wheel

Grist Mill Memorial Bench Dedication

On Saturday June 3rd, the Kingsbury Pond Grist Mill Committee will host a ceremony to dedicate a memorial bench to Medfield citizens who were lost while serving our country in armed conflicts and remain “missing in action”. The granite bench is located at the grist mill site on Spring Street (Route 27) in Medfield. Design and installation of the bench, and preparation of the site, were done by Tyler Hatch of Boy Scout Troop 89 as part of his Eagle Scout project. The bench site, which overlooks Kingsbury Pond, commemorates two Medfield residents who served during World War II.

Richard Werner lived at 67 Harding Street and graduated from Medfield High School in 1941.  He joined the Army Air Force in 1943 and advanced to the rank of staff sergeant, manning a turret gun aboard a B24 Liberator. On May 22nd 1944 while on a bombing mission in southern Italy, his plane developed engine trouble and departed its squadron’s formation, presumably to attempt an emergency landing. Neither the plane nor its crew were ever seen again. Richard Werner was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. The square at the intersection of Harding and West Mill streets was dedicated to him in 1994.

Douglas MacKeachie moved to Medfield from New Jersey during the 1930’s and resided at 72 Elm Street. He was Vice President in charge of purchasing for The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P. In 1940 he went to Washington to serve as Deputy Director for Procurement and Distribution at the War Department. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was made a colonel in the Army and put in charge of the General Purchasing Board to handle war supplies. This position was based in Great Britain. Military flights from the U.S. to Europe routinely used the route with the shortest distance over water, between Brazil and West Africa. Colonel MacKeachie boarded such a flight on a B-87 Liberator, January 17th, 1943 along with 12 fellow U.S. military personnel and 13 members of the Royal Air Force. The plane was reported missing three days later on January 20th having gone down 800 miles off the coast of Brazil. On February 4th a life raft was found by the USS Kearney with the remains of a body later identified as the pilot. The next day a second raft washed up on a beach in Brazil, also with the remains of a single body along with six life preservers. Several items belonging to Colonel MacKeachie were found on that raft though the remains were not his. It was presumed that all aboard the flight succumbed to hunger and thirst. Colonel MacKeachie left a widow and daughter back in Medfield. He was 42 years old when he was lost. The bridge on Elm Street near his former home will be dedicated to him in the near future. Both the Werner and MacKeachie families have been invited to attend the dedication.

The ceremony will begin with a procession from the parking lot of St. Edward the Confessor church to the Kingsbury Pond Mill. Transportation will be available for those not able to make the walk (which is about 100 yards.) The public is invited to attend. The procession will begin promptly at 3:00pm on Saturday, June 3rd. Those planning to join, are requested to gather at the church parking lot no later than 2:45. The ceremony is expected to last approximately 45 minutes and will conclude back in the church parking lot.

George Dealy gdealy@gmail.com

 

Schedule of Events for Kingsbury Pond Grist Mill Memorial Bench Dedication
June 3rd, 2017
2:30 – 3:00: Gather at St. Edward the Confessor Parking Lot to assemble for procession
3:00 – 3:15: Procession from St. Edward to Grist Mill
3:15 – 3:20: Welcome & Introductions (George Dealy}
3:20 – 3:25: Blessing (Father Culloty)
3:25 – 3:30: America the Beautiful (Medfield High Vocalist) & Presentation of Flag (Boy Scouts)
3:30 – 3:35: Tribute to Richard Werner
3:35 – 3:45: Tribute to Douglas MacKeachie
3:45 – 3:50: Taps & Dismissal
3:50 – 4:05: Procession back to St. Edward

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s