Saturday, February 16, 2013


Yesterday I went to the funeral of my dear Aunty Betty. She was the wife of my father's brother, Peter, and a beautiful, warm and lovable person, who died aged 88. I never knew my father as he was killed in the war, on 13 May 1943. I was 9 months - 'do the math' as they say.

This is one of the very few photos I have of him, looking so young and smart casual. It was taken at Middleton, near Bognor, where my grandparents had a holiday house.

Apart from this picture, the only other one I had was a studio portrait of him and Mum with me aged 8 months taken just one month before he died. My grandmother had insisted they have this taken, and no doubt she paid for it. Sadly, she may have had a premonition.

Then, among Aunty Betty's things, my cousin Chris Geale found this photo of my father's squadron. Initially there seemd little chance of identifying someone I never knew.

Uncannily, within 2 minutes I spotted him, thanks to an old magnifying glass. He is sitting in the second row back and is sixth from the left. Immediately I knew it was him. The saddest thing is to think how very many of these young men died. Many of them were Canadians attached to the RAF. All of his crew, he was the pilot, were Canadian.

And now he is at rest in this beautiful civilian cemetery in Holland, at Amersfoort. We visited there a few years ago to meet the daughter of Kees, who had looked after the graves and set up a website in memory of all those buried here.

1 comment:

Anne Mackle said...

So sad at so many young men lost their lives. Your dad was very handsome.