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Wartime memories flood back

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 15, 2013

THERE were proud smiles all round for a group of people who lost loved ones during the Second World War.

May Ledson's fiancee, Gowerton-born Oscar Griffiths, died on Christmas Eve in 1944 as he flew a plane over Cologne in Germany.

He was the pilot of a Lancaster Bomber which went down over the city, killing all seven crew onboard.

Oscar was on his 30th operation when his plane went down.

Although May went on to marry and bring up her family in Liverpool she said she remembered Oscar, known as Griff, with love and pride.

The pair had met at the No. 10 Air Gunners School at Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness. He was then transferred to RAF Waltham in Grimsby as part of RAF 100 Squadron.

May was invited to be a VIP guest at the weekend's air show after her daughter began researching her family history and asked the Post to appeal to anyone who knew Oscar to get in touch.

When she wrote to the Post, she said: "I have always remembered Oscar with love and pride and I have photographs and many treasured memories which I would dearly love to share with anyone who remembers him, his family, friends or colleagues, while I am in good health."

During her visit to Swansea, May also met up with Eirlys Sims, the sister of Jim Morgan, the plane's mid-upper gunner who lost his life in the fateful flight.

The two women were also joined for the Battle of Britain memorial flight by Pontarddulais man Howell Evans.

Howell, now aged 88, was in the same squadron as the two men and took part in 36 operations during the war as a wireless operator.

He was also in the skies above Germany on the night they lost their lives as he was taking part in the same mission as the pair.

He still remembers the night when Oscar and Jim were killed, and his own plane was also damaged.

"It was a heavy night and the fighting was intense," he said.

Howell has already visited May once in Liverpool, but he had never met Eirlys before this weekend.

He proudly watched displays by the Red Arrows before seeing the Lancaster, flanked by a Spitfire and Hurricane, fly overhead.

After the fly-by Eirlys said she remained proud of her brother, 68 years on, and said watching the Lancaster in the sky was emotional.

All three were joined by members of their own families at the annual air show.

A school friend of Oscar's, Gordon Dennis, was due to attend but was unable to do so.

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