Writer unearths ‘heartbreaking stories’ about his dad’s service in R.A.F Mepal for new book ‘The Mallon Crew’
PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 November 2016
An author has shared a collection of “heartbreaking stories” about his dad’s service in the R.A.F where he was posted in Mepal.
Vic Jay’s father, a Lancaster bomber flight engineer with No. 75 (NZ) Squadron based at R.A.F Mepal, inspired him to write ‘The Mallon Crew’.
He said: “When he died aged 55, all I had to help me was a handful of photographs, his log book and the name of his pilot, Bill Mallon.
“I soon discovered the names of the rest of his crew but was ill-prepared for the further discoveries I was about to make.
“My dad, the son of a cobbler from Great Yarmouth, and Bill, born within a year of each other but over 11,000 miles apart, lived parallel lives until December 1944.
“They then ‘crewed up’ with five other young men, three from New Zealand and two from England, and, although they survived the war, they were stricken by more tragedies than it is possible to imagine, and their lives would never be the same again.
“Almost as fascinating as the stories themselves are the way in which a modest research project evolved into this extraordinary narrative.
“Hardly a month went by without some new gem of information emerging. It connected me with the families of all but one of my dad’s crew, uncovered details of the aftermath of the death of both of Bill’s brothers and I even found a photograph of the crew flying to their last target.
“The highlight of the whole project, though, was discovering that one of my dad’s comrades is still alive.”
Vic Jay will attend a rremembrance service in the Memorial Garden at Mepal on November 13.