A CEREMONY in memory of a Royal Navy airwoman who died in a helicopter crash 12 years ago has taken place at Swanage railway station.
Jenny Lewis, from the Isle of Wight, was killed in June 2002 after the Lynx helicopter she was serving in as an observer crashed into the sea off the coast of Virginia, USA, during a joint British and US military training exercise.
The 25-year-old, who was a railway enthusiast, became the first UK naval servicewoman to lose her life on operational duty.
At Thursday’s tribute, a renovated diesel locomotive was named in her honour.
Jenny’s father, Chris Lewis, became a major shareholder in the project to overhaul the 73-tonne locomotive to mainline standards after his daughter’s death. During the official naming ceremony, senior officers from the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm were in attendance. Poignantly, there was also a flypast by a Lynx helicopter.
Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones said: “The Swanage Railway was delighted to host this very special and poignant naming ceremony at Swanage station.
“No. D6515 is a marvellous and lasting memorial to Jenny, who was a lifelong railway enthusiast and an ardent fan of the Class 33 diesel- electric locomotives.
“The ‘Lt Jenny Lewis RN’ nameplates on each side of the locomotive will not only be seen by passengers on the Swanage Railway but also around the country, as No. D6515 has been overhauled to mainline standards and is available for hire to haul trains on the national railway network.”