13 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

It's a bare field in November. Next year's crop is leafing; a hedge and line of thin trees show on the horizon. The field is situated off a narrow lane connecting two East Yorkshire villages, Atwick and Bewholme. Nothing extraordinary. Vehicles pass it every day. It hardly merits a glance.

Just after midnight on Sunday 20 February 1944, Halifax bomber HX351 NP-S lifted off from RAF Lissett, one of 255 Halifax bombers heading for a formation of 823 aircraft enroute to Leipzig. Less than ten minutes later it was in this field, all seven crew members dead, gaining the sad distinction of being the first of 78 aircraft lost on the raid, at the time the most costly of the Second World War.

What happened? I doubt even they knew.

I'm lucky. Both my parents, and my husband's parents, returned from WW2 to create new lives for themselves, and then for us. And so, today, we remember the very young men who could not do that for themselves, but helped to do it for others.

Peter Jennings
Pilot Officer 157100 - 28 years

Norman Caffery
Pilot Officer 169502

Gerald Fitzsimmons
Pilot Officer J/86434 (Canadian - Air Gunner) - 22 years

George Gillings
Sergeant 1393396 - 21 years

Harold Jones 
Flight Sergeant 1537023 (Welsh - Air Bomber) - 21 years

Samuel Morris
Flight Sergeant 1503563 (Welsh - Air Gunner)

Charles Seymour
Pilot Officer 160592 - 22 years

As the massed ranks of Veterens pay their respects at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, we, too, remember these brave young men who gave their all.


  1. Thanks. They were so young. But there again, so are the casualties from conflicts now.