Voice of the fallen
IN the annals of the second world war, the death of brave Polish pilot Alex Pietrzak may only have been a footnote in history.But thanks to a Great Yarmouth man, the full details of W/O Pietrzak's career and death, and those of thousands of other allied air crew, are easily available online.
IN the annals of the second world war, the death of brave Polish pilot Alex Pietrzak may only have been a footnote in history.
But thanks to a Great Yarmouth man, the full details of W/O Pietrzak's career and death, and those of thousands of other allied air crew, are easily available online.
From the comfort of his Audley Street home, Kelvin Youngs has run the website of the Aircrew Remembrance Society for two years. The website helps relatives of fallen RAF and other allied fighter and bomber crews from the second world war to find out how they died in service.
In the majority of cases, the society can provide pilot's squadron, serial number, the type of aircraft they flew, how they died, where they are buried and photographs of them.
Mr Youngs, set up the website because of the death of W/O Pietrzak. The Pole married Mr Youngs' mother, Josephine Tuffield, after he escaped to England in 1940.
He was credited with five kills before he died when his Mustang fighter from 309 squadron crashed in Essex during a training flight on August 2, 1945.
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Mr Youngs became involved with the 35-year-old Aircrew Remembrance Society when W/O Pietrzak's Mustang was unearthed in Rayne, near Braintree, two years ago.
Since then, the website has received more than 500,000 hits from people asking for details about the lives and deaths of allied pilots. These are stored in the society's extensive archive and are hard to find from government sources. Details on dead Luftwaffe crew are also available.
On Tuesday, Mr Youngs, 58, and a former soldier, received a typical request for information when a granddaughter asked for details of an Arthur Lee, who died on special operations in 1944 on duty for 148 squadron.
Mr Youngs, who is a catering manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “The society was created to provide the missing link for relatives and friends seeking information regarding fallen airmen of all nations.”
l Visit www.aircrew remembrancesociety.com