Tributes to daring, hero pilot

WOODBRIDGE: Tributes have today been paid to a Second World War veteran who has been described as a “national hero”.Lieutenant Commander Edgar Lee was one of just a handful of pilots to leave the English Channel alive after surviving a seemingly hopeless mission which would become a turning point in the allied war effort.

WOODBRIDGE: Tributes have today been paid to a Second World War veteran who has been described as a “national hero”.

Lieutenant Commander Edgar Lee was one of just a handful of pilots to leave the English Channel alive after surviving a seemingly hopeless mission which would become a turning point in the allied war effort.

He died at his home at the age of 89, surrounded by his family on October 20, after a short battle with cancer.

LCDR Lee was among 18 Fleet Air Arm crewmen who fearlessly flew six dilapidated Swordfish bi-planes from Manston towards the largest German battle fleet ever assembled.

No aircraft returned from the battle and, of the five survivors rescued from the Channel, 20-year-old LCDR Lee was the only one to emerge unhurt.

Captain David Ingham, LCDR Lee's friend and president of the Felixstowe Master Mariners Club, said: “He was a national hero.

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“He was also the perfect gentlemen. He was so unassuming and would not talk about his exploits.

“He was someone everyone would aspire to and will be missed by a huge amount of people.”

The son of an Air Ministry electrical engineer, LCDR Lee moved with his family to Suffolk from Egypt and later became head boy at Northgate Grammar School in Ipswich. He joined the Navy just after his 18th birthday.

He was demobilised in 1947, but rejoined the naval reserve in 1956, serving until retirement as a commander in May 1981. He became a teacher and worked at various schools, including Brandon Primary School where he was deputy head teacher.

He leaves behind his wife, Carol, daughters June and Liz, and four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

His wife, Mrs Lee, said: “I am honoured to have known and been a part of Edgar's life for the past 34 years. He had a great range of interests, and I, and many others have learned from his knowledge.

“Edgar was a loving, thoughtful and caring husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and we will all miss him dearly.”

n. Would you like to pay tribute to Lieutenant Commander Lee? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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