AVIATION writer Andrew Bird is appealing to Ealing Times readers to help trace relatives of Flying Officer Kenneth Gratton, who was flying de Havilland Mosquitoes with 235 Squadron in June and early July 1944.
Flying Officer Gratton lived in Ealing in the early/late 1940s at 11 Church Gardens W5.
Mr Bird said: "On July 5 1944, Kenneth Grattoned was in one of a pair of Mosquitoes that attack a heavily-armed flak-ship in the Gironde. Unfortunately, the heavy fire caught both aircraft, rendering them useless.
“Kenneth and his pilot, Tom Warwick, ditched their aircraft and were picked up by a French trawler. They served out the remainder of the war as POWs.
“The other crew were not so fortunate. With one engine shot away, they crash-landed in a remote French farmer’s field. The navigator, F/O Frank Harris, was thrown clear on impact, but the young Canadian pilot, John Sammon, perished in the aircraft. Both were later buried with full military honours.
“The local French people wish to honour all four this coming July and I would welcome any information.”
Mr Bird can be contacted by letter at 71 Wantage Road, Reading Berkshire, RG30 2SN or e-mail: andy.bird firstname.lastname@example.org