Memory Lane: Village searching for relatives of war hero

Gazette obit dated 08/03/1943 for John Robinson, RAF killed on active duty.

Gazette obit dated 08/03/1943 for John Robinson, RAF killed on active duty.

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THE folk in a Leicestershire village are hoping that Memory Lane readers will be able to help them properly honour the memory of a former Fylde coast bus driver who was killed in an air crash almost 70 years ago.

They wonder if there are any surviving family members of RAF Sgt John Robinson, who was killed on active duty on the very day he was due home on leave.

Dr David Webb explains: “We are trying to contact any relatives of this airman from Thornton, who died in an aircraft crash in the Second World War.

“On March 5, 1943, a Lancaster bomber from 100 squadron came down very near our small village of Plungar, here in north east Leicestershire.

“Six aircrew lost their lives, one of whom was Sgt John Robinson.

“He was 34 when he died, leaving a wife, Isabella. His parents were Robert and Leah Robinson.”

Dr Webb adds: “The member of the Home Guard who was the first to reach the crash still lives in the village, and he has become a vital living link with the events of that cold March night almost 70 years ago.

“Although the airmen are commemorated in their Commonwealth War Graves – and Sgt Robinson’s grave is in Thornton Parish (Christ Church) Cemetery – we are planning to erect our own local memorial, as a tribute to their sacrifice and to mark our own particular thanks.

“Because of this we very much want to get in touch with relatives of the aircrew, to tell them what we are doing and to invite them to the ceremony we are planning to hold for the unveiling of the memorial.

“We’d be delighted to include Sgt Robinson’s relatives or surviving family in this. We will be unveiling the memorial on Saturday September 22 and, at the moment, we are planning to have a brief church service followed by the unveiling itself at a point near to where the Lancaster went down. In fact the closest accessible point for the public is on a canal towpath.

“If this request jolts someone’s memory, then could they please contact me? I’d be more than happy to say more to them about what we are doing.”

Dr Webb can be contacted by email at david.webb62@btinternet.com or by post at The Old Vicarage, 12 Frog Lane, Plungar, NG13 0JE.