05/07/2012 - 14:24 pm

Helicopter lifts mini crane to site, to lift stone memorial


A World War II veteran’s long-standing dream to commemorate the 55,573 men who lost their lives as part of Bomber Command finally became reality as a Unic mini spider crane helped to install a new stone memorial at Beachy Head, Eastbourne, UK.

The 6 tonne stone memorial was installed on the cliffside location after years of fundraising and campaigning by 90-year-old Joe Williams, who completed 20 missions as a Lancaster Bomber rear gunner before being shot down over Czechoslovakia in 1945. Beachy Head was the last part of British soil seen by many of the RAF crews flying out to German-occupied Europe, making it a perfect location for this greatly-anticipated monument.

GGR Group’s 4 tonne capacity Unic URW-547 mini spider crane was used to precisely position the granite pieces of the memorial together on the restricted access area of coastline, 450 feet above the English Channel. A crowd of spectators watched GGR’s team of expert operators as they carefully lifted the two sections into position on a central plinth using the compact crane.

Fittingly, an RAF Chinook helicopter was used to transport the stone loads and Unic mini crane from nearby Beachy Head Road to the memorial’s final location on the cliff edge. The helicopter safely carried the lightweight, yet powerful, mini crane in a cargo net, and when it was set down on solid ground the crane was driven over timbers to reach its destination without damaging the ground at the coastal beauty spot.

With its positionable outriggers creating a stable base, the Unic mini crane was an ideal choice for safely working on the soft, grassy area. Under the watch of a team of stone masons, the Unic URW-547 lifted the 2,740kg base stone then the 2,780kg cap stone, which is inscribed with the message “Remember Them”. Once the job was complete the crane was folded up ready to be transported back to the main road by helicopter.

Graeme Riley, CEO, GGR Group, said: “We’re delighted to have played a part in finally making Joe’s wish to have a memorial here a reality. This was a challenging job because of its remote location but with some help from the Chinook and our team of experienced crane operators, our mini crane got the job done quickly and safely.”

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