Search for bomber crew family

SIX decades after a pilot perished in a burning bomber over Germany, his nephew is keen to track down relatives of the wartime heroes from the plane.If Rob Hill's national quest is successful, it will honour his poignant promise to his 92-year-old great aunt, and grant her dearest wish in her twilight years.

SIX decades after a pilot perished in a burning bomber over Germany, his nephew is keen to track down relatives of the wartime heroes from the plane.

If Rob Hill's national quest is successful, it will honour his poignant promise to his 92-year-old great aunt, and grant her dearest wish in her twilight years.

As a pilot of 30 years himself, Rob Hill is keen to trace any relatives of Flight Sergeant RV Daniels and Flight Sergeant RC Bailey, who were crew members of a Halifax bomber piloted by his uncle Thomas Hill on the night of January 21, 1944.

On that fateful night when the plane was shot down over Magdeburg, Mr Hill –known as Bob to his crew - and rear gunner Mr Bailey died in the flames.

Five of the crew bailed out safely, and were captured as prisoners of war. One man died of the wounds he sustained, about a month later.

Mr Daniels, who was a regular crew member, did not fly with his colleagues on that mission, but lost his life three weeks later flying with another crew.

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The plane was one of 35 Halifaxes lost when a stream of 57 British aircraft

Which flew on the first major raid to Magdeburg. They arrived earlier than the Pathfinders' planned strike, due to strong winds which had not been forecast.

The crews of the 27 planes in the main force were anxious to bomb, and did so before zero hour. Fires started by this early bombing, together with German decoy markers, were blamed for the Pathfinders' failure to concentrate on the marking.

In total, 58 aircraft were lost – the heaviest loss of aircraft in any night of the war so far.

After many years of research, Rob Hill has discovered the last known addresses of the crew, and managed to find two families so far.

Now he needs the help of Evening Star readers to complete his quest.

He knows Mr Daniels was the husband of Stella Daniels, and son of Montigue and Edith Daniels of Ipswich.

Mr Bailey's sister was Miss I Bailey or Ashbocking, and his aunt was Mrs R Farthing from Oakley, Diss.

Thomas Hill lived in the village of Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees, where Rob Hill, and his aunt Edith – his late uncle's sister - still lives.

He said: "Bearing in mind that these names and addresses are 60 years old, this is all the information I have so far.

"Some years ago, I promised my aunt that I would try and find any surviving crew or relatives. It's been a mammoth task and a race against time, but we are getting there at last."

Weblink: www.raf.mod.uk

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Can you help? Call the Star newsdesk on 01473 324789 or write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1A, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

VILLAGERS from near Nottingham are keen to trace relatives of Ipswich man Bob Aspinall who died in a mid air collision over their homes in 1944.

A ceremony at St Wilfred's Church in Screveton on April 18, will see a wooden cross bearing the names of 11 pilots who perished, laid down during a special 60th anniversary ceremony.

Sylvia Adcoc, who lives in the village 15 miles from Nottingham, said: "We really would love to get anybody we can find, to attend. We have already found the relatives of one pilot, after asking the RAF personnel department to forward our letter to their last known addresses."

Glyn Robert (Bob) Apinall was aged 20 when he died as a member of the RAF's Volunteer Reserve. His serial number was 1800248. He was the son of Robert Thomas Aspinall and Ruby Anna Aspinall of Ipswich.

Weblink: www.oldnotts.co.uk/churches/screveton

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If you can help Mrs Adcock's appeal, contact the Star as above.

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