The sacrifice of an American airman who lost his life when his aircraft crashed in Wirral 70 years ago was commemorated this week at a special ceremony near the spot where he died.

Second Lieutenant Jay Frederick Simpson was killed when a US Air Force P47 Thunderbolt came to grief at Saughall Massie in 1944.

Members of the Warplane Wreck Investigation Society – based at Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton – recovered the engine from the aircraft in 1973 and it is now an exhibit at the fort’s warplane wreck museum.

Museum curator Doug Darrach said: “Thursday was the 70th anniversary of the crash and we like to pay tribute to people like Lt Simpson who gave their lives in the war.”

A special memorial, provided by the wreck investigation group, was set up in 2005 on a bridge at Saughall Massie near to the site that the Thunderbolt came down.

In Thursday’s ceremony, attended by group chairman John Molyneux and fellow members, flowers were placed on the plaque at 3.08pm – the exact time that the aircraft crashed.

Second Lieutenant Simpson was laid to rest at the American Cemetery at Madingley in Cambridgeshire.