A Donside author said the chance to identify local men who died in World War Two was one of the main reasons she decided to contribute to a new book.
Linzee Druce, who lives near Alford, is one of a number of writers who feature in ‘Bomber Command: Failed to Return II’ which tells the stories of RAF airmen who lost their lives while fighting Nazism.
Linzee’s chapter ‘Future’s Denied’ describes the tragic crash of a RAF Wellington bomber on January 19th 1942, which had taken off from RAF Lossiemouth on a training exercise. All on board lost their lives, and some of the crew are buried in Dyce’s Old Churchyard.
In 2003, a memorial was unveiled to the crew by HRH The Princess Royal in Braemar.
Linzee also assisted with the research into another chapter in the book ‘Taking on the Beast’ - the story of Bomber Command airman John ‘Jock’ Morrison.
Jock, who was born in Aberdeen, carried out part of his flying training at RAF Kinloss prior to joining an operational squadron. His Halifax bomber took off from Kinloss in 1942, to attack the German battleship Tirpitz - and was shot down. Jock was on the run in Norway for a short period but was eventually captured and he saw out the conflict as a prisoner of war.
Linzee says that it was a family connection that first got her interested in researching World War Two.
“I started researching aircrew losses in 1999, initially to discover more about my grandmother’s first husband who was a Halifax bomber pilot, shot down and killed during the war over Norway.
“It was during this process that I realised how little some families actually knew about relatives who had been killed, and what it was that they had been doing.
“After researching several losses in Norway, I realised that there were other aircrew losses closer to home in North-east Scotland.
“Many of the losses in Aberdeenshire are from training flights as there were Bomber Command training units at both RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth.
“Young men from around the globe lost their lives in our mountains far from home, many without ever having seen action overseas. Their loss was felt by the families they left behind in just the same way as if they had lost their lives over occupied Europe.
“I find great satisfaction in researching these losses and putting faces to the names of the aircrew who died, and in some small way keeping their memory alive.
“With the widespread use of the internet it is now possible to post information about the losses online for the families of the airmen to eventually find one day. Some of the crash sites I have researched are on my website - www.archieraf.co.uk - and as a result of this I have had relatives contact me which has allowed me to learn even more about some of the men.”
Linzee was approached by Fighting High Publishing to contribute to the book - which features a number of previously unpublished images - and the company’s managing director Steve Darlow was full of praise for the Alford author.
He said: “I have been particularly impressed with Linzee’s attention to detail and her perseverance in what can be a very difficult subject to research.
“Her dedication ensures that the memory of these young airmen is preserved and their sacrifice not forgotten.”
Linzee says she is interested in learning more about the part Bomber Command played in D-Day in the future.
“I am always interested in learning more about losses in the local area so that they can be recorded for future generations,” she said. “I never really know what direction the research I’m doing will take me in, but it’s never dull!”
‘Bomber Command: Failed to Return II’ is available to buy now and can be purchased at www.fightinghigh.com