RAF Hurricane pilot identified after 71 years

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Missing No More

    Click the link to see the pictures......

    The resting place of a World War II RAF Hurricane pilot listed as missing in action for more than 70 years has been found; today members of his family were at his graveside in the quiet village of Poix-du-Nord, Northern France, to dedicate a new headstone.

    Flying Officer Derek Allen Flying Officer Derek Allen joined the Royal Air Force in 1937 aged just 19 years old. Posted to 85 Squadron he found himself flying in the skies over Northern France, locked in battle with the German Luftwaffe during May 1940. He was credited with four outright and three shared enemy ‘kills’ before his Hurricane aircraft was shot down over farmland on 18 May 1940. His body was never officially recovered; he was listed as missing, presumed dead, and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 31 May 1940.

    Recent research by the Air Historical Branch discovered records that proved the young pilot had been removed from the aircraft wreckage by locals. Buried as an ‘unknown airman’ in their village cemetery, Derek remained nameless for 71 years. Today his younger brother Richard Allen, now in his eighties, led three generations of the family to where Derek now lies.


    “There are 26 of us paying our respects to Derek, ranging from over 80 to 1 year old. My sister-in-law and my cousin from Canada have joined my son, three daughters, nephews and nieces and my eight grandchildren here today. They are only beginning to learn about what Derek did but the ceremony will bring the story home to the young ones. It will bring the family together in the act of remembrance. It happened long ago and one had almost forgotten, but it is a great relief to know where he rests.”


    RAF Chaplain The Reverend Dr (Squadron Leader) Andrew Wakeham-Dawson, 47, conducted the order of service. “By honouring the fallen, we give respect and gratitude for their commitment and devotion to duty. We appreciate and value the sacrifice made by our colleagues whether in World War II or in recent Operations. The circumstances may be different in Afghanistan but the courage and example of those who serve matches that of our predecessors, who rose to the challenge when duty called.”

    Military chaplains have always deployed on Operations, ministering to flying Squadrons the same way they served during World War II. Sqn Ldr Wakeham-Dawson remembers his time on Operation HERRICK.

    “Flying for long periods with the RAF Chinook crews really brought home to me the mixture of emotions associated with long periods of waiting; the sudden call to duty, moments of danger and fear. There was a greater uncertainty about what tomorrow may bring, much as there must have been for Derek Allen and his comrades. There are many unsung heroes who just get on and do a remarkable job to the best of their abilities in very challenging circumstances.”

    :salute:
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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  3. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's just awesome, thanks for posting!

    :salute:
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  6. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    He danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings. He put out his hand and touched the face of God, and only the Almighty knew where he fell...until today. Rest in peace Flying Officer Allen - you never were, and never will be, forgotten.

    Red+Poppy+Wallpaper1.jpg
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It's always good when something like this happens and what a tremendous turn out from his family.

    "There are many unsung heroes who just get on and do a remarkable job to the best of their abilities in very challenging circumstances."

    I couldn't have put it better.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  8. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    Indeed so guys, well said, I share your sentiments, and that of the presiding Reverend too. RIP Flying Officer Derek Allen DFC :salute:
     
  9. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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