RAF Pilot, George ‘Paddy’ Alderdice from Lisburn is remembered at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein – Westfalen, Germany. His remarkable story is outlined here. There are seven RAF aircrew among the 12 men from NI named in today’s Roll of Honour. One of them was a former North Irish Horse officer.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
A’ Company 16th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Rifleman. 19/498. Died 26/07/1917. Husband to Annie E. Douglas, of Magherna, Waringstown. Dickebusch New Military Cememtery Extension, Belgium.
16th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Rifleman. 436. Died 26/07/1917. Age 20. Son of John Menabney, Old Orange Hall, Lurgan, was killed less than a week after returning from short leave at home. Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, Belgium.
+ROCK, William George
RAF. Flight Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner). 649532. Died 26/07/1942. Aged 23. 138 Sqdn. Son of George and Elizabeth Mary Rock, of Broughshane. Vire New Communal Cemetery, Calvados, France
Royal Artillery. Bombardier. 43rd Searchlight Regiment (5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment [West Riding]). Died in Portadown 26/07/1942. Aged 39. Born on 17/07/1906, he was the son of James William Roney and Mary Isabella Roney (née Lewis) of 17 Watson Street, Portadown. Husband of Phoebe Rooney. The couple had two children. Seagoe C of I Churchyard, Portadown. Portadown WM
+ALDERDICE, George Frederick
RAFVR. Flying Officer (Pilot). 120401. Died 26/07/1943. Aged 21. 61 Sqdn. He was flying in Lancaster III ED613 from Syerston to Essen in Germany. Flying Officer Alderdice was known as “Paddy” because he was from Northern Ireland. He had learned to fly in the United States under the Arnold Scheme and during his training he became a close friend of Arthur “Sandy” Sandison who was from the Shetland Islands.
They trained together for a year in Georgia, sharing a room throughout. After they had gained their wings in January 1942 they were both then enrolled as flying instructors for the next group of British recruits, remaining in Georgia for most of 1942.
Sandy Sandison returned to the UK in late 1942, underwent bomber conversion and became a pilot on Lancasters in 619 Squadron. He completed a full tour of operations and reached the rank of Squadron Leader.
George “Paddy” Alderdice was very sadly killed on his very first Operation. He was initially reported as “Missing”. In a letter to his Parents dated 3rd August 1943 Arthur
Sandy Sandison wrote:-
‘“A terrible thing happened on last Sunday’s trip to Essen. Paddy did not return. Honestly it came as a terrible shock to me, and I still can hardly believe it.
“It was Paddy’s first operation with his crew.
“He was a long way behind me on this job and I wish I could have helped him on his way a bit.
“Anyone’s first trip is the worst one.
“There is so much to learn, and no second chances, as one mistake and you’ve had it.
“It was a tough target for a first trip too.
“Essen is considered the hottest spot in the Ruhr, and in Germany as it’s right in the middle of a big belt of defences.
“We were on but we didn’t hear a thing from Paddy’s crew, not that we ever do, so all that we can hope for is that they are prisoners of war – the next best thing.”
Son of Gerald Leslie and Katherine Anne Hay Alderdice, of Lisburn. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein – Westfalen, Germany
RAFVR. Sergeant Air Gunner.1483399. Died 26/07/1943. Aged 20.158 Squadron. Grandson of Thomas and Kathleen Gates of Erskine Terrace, Whitehouse; Nephew of Albert Gates of Whitehouse. Carnmoney C of I Churchyard
RNR Patrol Service. Stoker Petty Officer. LT/2026V. Died 26/07/1943. HMS Drangey. He joined RN in 1914 and was recalled from reserve at outbreak of war. Wife and son resident, Glenview St., Belfast. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 27/08/1943). Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery, South Africa.
+SMYTH, John Stanley
RAFVR. Pilot Officer (Navigator). 139301. Died 26/07/1943. Aged 29. 51 Sqdn. Member Pharmaceutical Society. Son of John and Sarah Smyth; husband to Olive Maude McKay Smyth, of Londonderry. Castricum Protestant Churchyard, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
+WEIR, Frederick Edward
RAFVR. Corporal.1303050. Died 26/07/1943. Aged 29. Son of Thomas and Mary Jane Weir, of Lurgan. Khanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand
+CORRY, George Stanley
RAF. Flying Officer (Pilot). 49879. 225 Squadron. Died: 26/07/1944. Age 23. Born in 1921, George Stanley Corry was the eldest son of Herbert F. Corry and his wife Isobella (nee Kirklands), Bryansburn Road, Bangor. Educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Member of the Queen’s OTC. Enlisted with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1940 and received a cadetship to Sandhurst in April, 1941. Later that year he was commissioned in the North Irish Horse, and transferred to the R.A.F. in 1942. After receiving his wings he was promoted Flying Officer in mid 1943. On the morning of 29/07/1944 his parents received an airgraph from him only to receive a telegram that evening to inform them that their son had been killed on active service in Italy. Florence War Cemetery. Recorded on family memorial in Bangor Cemetery. QUB RH
2nd Bn. Royal Ulster Rifles. Rifleman. 14613429. Died 26/07/1944. Aged 19. Hermanville War Cemetery, Calvados, France
+FORSYTHE, James Stanfield
2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. Lance Corporal. 7013284. Died 26/07/1945. Aged 24. Son of William John Forsythe and Martha Forsythe (née Stewart) of Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery.
+SMART, William Joseph
RAVR. Warrant Officer (Wireless Operator (Air)). 1021128. Died 26/07/1945. Aged 26. 205 Sqdn. Son of George A. Smart and Mary Smart, of Portadown.Madras War Cemetery, Chennai, India
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