Afghanistan veteran with medals and child

Do you know this World War Two hero?

9 February 2015

Do you know this World War Two hero?

We are trying to find the relatives of this WW2 hero so that they can attend the unveiling of a plaque in his honour at the site where he was killed.

A Navigator and wireless operator of an RAF Mosquito aircraft, Alfred died when his aircraft crashed on the Belgian village of Driesinter on 6th October, 1944. His pilot, Pilot Officer William Searle Vale, was also killed and they are both buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Evere near Brussels.

The village in Belgium, whose name has now changed to Linter, is mounting a memorial event on 10th May this year to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE Day. The villagers will unveil a statue to honour the two men who died so young and are keen that the surviving relatives of both war heroes attend.

The village has recently traced members of the pilot’s family in Australia, but so far failed to locate Alfred’s relatives, despite requesting the help of SSAFA.

SSAFA, founded in 1885, has a long history supporting military families and was well placed to investigate its archives when a resident from the village approached the charity’s Surrey Branch in December last year.

SSAFA Surrey Branch Secretary, Wing Commander David Bramley RAF (Retd) said: “SSAFA is following all avenues and is hopeful of finding someone who can lead us to Alfred’s family and we are urging people to come forward to help us. The family of Pilot Officer Vale, based in Australia, are also very keen for the search to succeed.”

By coincidence, David spent two years, between 1967 and 1969, flying Lightning aircraft on 29 (Fighter) Squadron; a quarter of a century after Alfred had served on the very same squadron, so he too has a keen and personal interest in this search.

He added: “Flying a Mach 2 jet fighter had its moments, but the challenges facing these two courageous and dedicated airmen in a lone aircraft over enemy airfields at night are unequalled. The fact that a small community in Belgium is honouring them in this way is a magnificent gesture and a wonderful way to keep their memory alive in the heart of Europe.”

Records indicate that Alfred’s parents, Alfred and Maud Ashcroft, lived at 5, Church Street, Cobham, Surrey and it is believed that this was his family home as well.

Please contact us if you have any information about Alfred’s family,