Family of Ramsey WW2 RAF Bomber tracked down... halfway around the planet!

Sgt Barnard
Sgt Barnard
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The family of a Ramsey man who survived a wartime crash which killed his crew mates have welcomed plans to install a memorial where the bomber was shot down.

Sergeant Harry Barnard was the only survivor when the Stirling Bomber was shot down on German soil in September 1943.

Pilot Alex Brown, gunner Harry Barnard and bomb aimer David Badcock

Pilot Alex Brown, gunner Harry Barnard and bomb aimer David Badcock

Sgt Barnard - a gunner on the plane - managed to parachute to safety moments before disaster - but his six crew mates all perished.

Sgt Barnard was taken as a prisoner of war following the crash near Ludwigshafen.

Last month the Peterborough Telegraph revealed how a Dutchman, Erik Wieman, was leading a team of investigators who were researching the crash, and trying to locate the families of the crew.

He had discovered Sgt Barnard had lived in West Avenue, Ramsey, and also had links to Romford in Essex.

Other crew members were from New Zealand, Scotland and Middlesex.

Erik has now managed to contact Sgt Barnard’s son and grandchildren.

Lee Barnard, Sgt Barnard’s grandson, said while his grandfather had passed away while he was still young, he had heard some stories about him - and had even followed in his grandfather’s footsteps into the RAF. Lee, who now lives in Australia, said: “Harry Barnard was my Grandfather, he passed away in the early 70s, I would have been five or six, so didn’t know him in any capacity. All that I know of him has been passed onto me from my Dad who in turn heard from his older brother Graham.

“Graham passed away nearly two years ago.

“When Harry was released from being a P.O.W. and demobbed from the RAF he lived in Clapton NE London, where he became a London bus driver, which he continued to work until his retirement.

“Whilst working for London Transport, Harry met my Nan, Joyce Huckle who he married and had two boys (Michael and Stephen).

“I am glad this event has a conclusion, and some of the finer details unknown to the family have been recorded.

“As Grandad was the sole survivor he was able to share some of experiences with Graham, although he didn’t say an awful lot about it.

“I guess this has relevance to me as I joined the RAF when leaving school and served at RAF Marham, which was only 30 miles from RAF Lakenheath where my Grandad served.”

Erik said he was delighted to have finally got in touch with Sgt Barnard’s family.

He said: “It is great to tell the families what we have found, and all the families reacted very positively.

“I think, after so many years, no one expected to hear anything about the crash, the site, anymore, and the fact we will make sure the sacrifice their family members made in 1943 will not be forgotten here. We will make this site visible again, and prevent it from being forgotten.

“It would be great to meet the families at the crash site in the near future. When we will unveil the memorial for the crew.”

For more details visit www.ig-heimatforschung.de