I am researching the lives and wartime deaths of our family's two uncles and the strange parallels between them:
both are maternal uncles;
both joined up as teenagers;
both flew in bomber squadrons (one RAF, one SAAF);
both died in the closing months of WW2;
both died under unusual circumstances.
- Sgt Derek Sykes, from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, was a Flight Engineer with RAF 102 Squadron when he died in a mid-air collision near Fontaine l'Etalon in Pas de Calais.
- WOII Harland Benn, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, was an Air Gunner with SAAF 34 Squadron when his aircraft disappeared without trace near Verona.
I have become completely absorbed and fascinated by this "quest" and it seems that the more I learn about Harland & Derek, the more I feel that it would be a shame for the next generation of our family to know so little about them. It would be like losing them altogether, as if they never lived at all.