During the 1994 Reunion, the veterans of the 489th were invited to St Peter’s Church, Holton, to join in the Sunday Team Worship, an open air service held in the church paddock. During this service, eight tapestry kneelers, stitched by wives and friends of the veterans of the 489th, were dedicated.
The project to design and sew a set of tapestry kneelers was originally conceived by 489th veteran’s wife, Virginia Belward. During visit to the church a few years before, she had noticed the various colourful church kneelers, designed and made by local members of the congregation. She thought it would be a fitting tribute to make a gift to the church of a set of kneelers made by the ladies of the 489th. The project was enthusiastically embraced by the veterans wives and the following photograph shows the ladies of the 489th presenting these kneelers for the blessing. (Sunday 29 May 1994)
From L-R: Annie Hoerr, Gini Belward, Helen Plate, Elaine Weaver, Lillian Brown, Beverly Stenger, Pat Lamar
1994 - the 489th Church Kneelers are blessed at Holton St Peter's open air church service
The tops of the tapestry kneelers were designed and stitched in the US, then sent over to Halesworth for making into padded kneelers. A member of the congregation of St Peter’s Church, Lesley Picard, made the kneelers. Inside each kneeler, on the back of the tapestry has been sewn the name of the lady who stitched the tapestry and the name of her veteran husband.
USAAF Insignia - Church kneeler stitched by Lillian Browne whose husband, 489th veteran ID Browne, was Ball Turret Gunner
The kneeler depicting the USAAF insignia was made by Lillian Brown from Florida. Lillian visited Halesworth on a number of occasions with her husband veteran ‘I.D.’ Brown.
B24 - Church kneeler stitched by Beverly Stenger whose husband, 489th veteran Dick Stenger, was a pilot with the group
The B-24 kneeler was stitched by Beverly Stenger, wife of pilot Dick Stenger. Dick was in Halesworth between May and October 1944.
Green tail - Church kneeler stitched by Helen Plate whose husband, 489th veteran Wilmer Plate, was Pilot on B-24 'Plate's Date'
Both tail colours used to identify the 489th are represented on the church kneelers. The Green Tail was stitched by Helen Plate, wife of pilot Wilmer Plate, and the Yellow Tail stitched by Helen Freudenthal, wife of Charles Freudenthal, 489th Historian and Group Bombardier.
Yellow Tail - Church kneeler stitched by Helen Freudenthal whose husband, 489th veteran Charles Freudenthal, was Group Bombardier
Other friends in the United States were moved to make these kneelers for the church in Suffolk and church friends of Virginia Belward stitched the following four kneelers.
489th Church kneeler stitched by Virginia Kettlehoat, of Holbrook Congregational Church, NY, A US Friend of the 489th
489th Church Kneeler stitched by Ruby Winkler of Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, NY, a US Friend of the 489th
489th Church Kneeler stitched by Doris Kettlehoat of Holbrook Congregational Church, NY, a US Friend of the 489th
489th Church Kneeler stitched by Jane Ells, of Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, NY, a US Friend of the 489th
However, it was not only ladies who stitched these kneelers. Following the dedication of these eight kneelers, the Friends of the 489th received a tapestry stitched by John David Myles, the son of veteran Edmund Myles. This was duly made into a church kneeler and blessed in Holton St Peter Church on 8 May 1995.
489th - Church Kneeler stitched by the son of veteran Ed Myles and dedicated in Holton St Peter Church on 8 May 1995
The kneelers can be seen in St Peter’s Church, Holton