Can you help this New York historian track the family of a Norfolk RAF officer?
PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:25 01 April 2019
A historian from New York has issued a plea for help to track down the family of a Norfolk RAF officer killed in a failed Second World War mission.
Edgar Frederick Drew, from Silfield, Wymondham, served as a pilot officer and gunner in the RAF and was one of four crew members killed when their plane crashed during a bombing mission to Karlsruhe, Germany, on August 25, 1941.
American historian Iain Walker is the grandson of the Wymondham gunner’s crew mate Denis Lloyd, who was the sole survivor of the crash.
Mr Walker has been looking into his grandfather’s past for more than a decade and said he was keen to share Mr Drew’s story with his relatives.
He said: “As I got into this research deeper, I started to reflect and appreciate just how lucky I am to be here since my grandfather was the sole survivor. We always wondered why my grandfather was so lucky when his comrades weren’t.”
Mr Drew’s parents, Frederick Drew and Violet Harriet Drew, are listed as being from the Silfield area of Wymondham, alongside his three sisters, Stella, May and Ethel.
The American historian said although records had been useful in his digging, diary entries by his grandfather following the crash bought the young men’s last flight to life.
Reliving the moment the plane nosedived, Mr Lloyd wrote in his diary: “We went into a spin and the skipper told us to get ready to bale out. This looked like an impossibility as the ‘g’ pressed me flat on the floor.”
Amid the chaos the radio operator escaped through a hatch and deployed his parachute, moments before the plummeting aircraft burst into flames.
He was taken as a German prisoner of war from the crash site in Aach in south-west Germany and the RAF listed the rest of the crew “missing – nothing heard from them”.
Mr Walker said: “I want to reach out to family members of his deceased crew, including Edgar’s, to let them know about my project and to let them know those brave gentlemen have not been forgotten.”
If you have any information about Mr Drew please contact Mr Walker at Iain.Walker@ice.dhs.gov