- Contributed by
- Leeds Libraries
- People in story:
- Alan Threlfall, Dorothy Williamson -nee Threlfall
- Location of story:
- Leeds - Italy (Naples)
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 October 2004
Like most young men in 1938/9, when the war clouds were looming my brother wanted to “do his bit” for his country.
He joined the Air Training Corps, and from there he graduated to Cranwell College for Air Force training.
His ambition was to be a pilot, but his eyesight let him down. So he did his training passing as a qualified engineer.
He repaired planes suffering damage on take off, due to enemy planes causing damage in air raids. After raids on enemy territory our planes limped home, on a wing and a prayer, as a popular song at the time went. They were repaired ready take off as soon as possible.
When my brother was home on leave, during the height of the war I well remember him saying that the pilots suffered badly with the constant bombing raids over Germany. Their nerves were in such a state when preparing for take off, and the ground crew were removing the “chocks” from the wheels of the plane, the pilots set the propeller in motion far too soon. This caused a lot of serious injuries to the ground crews.
Once abroad, Air Mail letters were infrequent and of course censored, so we got to know very little of his life over there. He was posted to North Africa, and from there to Italy, going through the war without injury.
The war was over and eventually the troops were repatriated.
Returning from leave, hitching a lift back to base in an AF lorry my brother was injured in a road accident. Alan was taken to hospital but sadly never recovered.
My father tried to get a flight over to Italy to see my brother in the hospital but at the time it was utterly impossible to get a flight out.
He received a condolence message from the Queen, and also a letter from the CO explaining how the accident happened with sincere regrets.
He is buried in the Naples Military Cemetery
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