Seeking South Shields family of RAF war hero

A reader from overseas has been in touch in a bid to track down a South Shields family whose relative died during the Second World War when the bomber he was flying crashed in Belgium.

By Peter French
Thursday, 16 May, 2019, 10:15
Pilot Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Robinson with his fellow RAF crew.

Vincent Pécriaux, who now lives in the Low Countries, says he and his two friends are keen to honour the local airman and his fellow crew men.

This is what Vincent wrote.

Remains found at the crash site.

“I have read with great interest your article ‘No forgetting war dead’ in the Shields Gazette.

“I have been living in Belgium and for more than three years now, and during that time I’ve been investigating the crash of a Halifax bomber that occurred just behind my house in March 1945.

“All seven men on board lost their lives in the crash and now rest at the Heverlee cemetery, in Belgium.

“I’ve managed to get in touch with the families of six of the crew members (three in the UK and three in Australia).

“The only ‘missing man’ is the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Robinson.

“I know that he was born in Durham and have discovered that some people related to him still live near there, and especially in South Shields.

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“I know that some of his relatives (the Hann family) are from South Shields. I have tried to get in touch with them via Facebook but they have not replied, and I could not find any postal address so that I could write to them.

“I would like to contact the family to tell them about my research and my memorial plan, but so far, as mentioned, I have not been able to make any contact.

“During those three years, I have been working on this project with two friends.

“Our aim is to honour the crew of this aircraft through a memorial that will be erected near the crash site next year.

“An exhibition could also be organised on that occasion to show what we have found on the crash site, and I intend to create a blog to share all the data I have gathered with the families and those who would be interested.

“Unfortunately I could not find any photograph of the aircraft involved. 640 Squadron was very short-lived and there are not too many archives.

“Since the entire crew flew together only four times I was very lucky to get the photo of the whole crew.

“I hope you can help me contact them.”

If anyone can help with Vincent’s search for the family of this wartime hero they can contact me and I’ll pass on the details.