War memorial trip for veteran

Jack Linekar, John Lyman, Bert Fisher, Melv Cox, Brian Taylor, Alex Murison, Paul Knight, John Davison and Steve Thompson

Jack Linekar, John Lyman, Bert Fisher, Melv Cox, Brian Taylor, Alex Murison, Paul Knight, John Davison and Steve Thompson

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A rear gunner who dodged death in a Second World War plane crash has travelled to London to see the unveiling of a memorial to his comrades.

The memorial in Green Park, London, pays tribute to those members of Bomber Command who died in the war. Veterans have been campaigning and fundraising for years for the memorial, which was finally unveiled last week.

There to see the unveiling was 93-year-old Jack Linekar from Stanion. He travelled to London with other local RAF Association members.

Jack was working at Corby Steelworks before the war, but longed to join up after enjoying his national service. He joined the RAF and was so keen to be a part of the war effort that he put his name forward for the risky position of air gunner for Bomber Command 9 Squadron.

But one night on his way back to Bardney, Lincolnshire, from a mission, the plane he was in overshot the runway. He said: “We’d been in the air for eight hours and there was fog but we couldn’t get diverted.

“I was in the rear turret and we hit a tree and span round and round, landing in a potato field.”

Jack helped to pull his colleagues out of the plane but two of his friends died. He walked away with a cut head and was back in the air within two weeks.

After the war Jack went back to Corby Steelworks where he later met his wife Theresa. He later worked at York Trailers and ran a local taxi firm before his retirement. Theresa died four years ago.

He said: “It was wonderful to see the unveiling. It has come about as a result of a lot of campaigning. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet the queen but I did meet Carol Vorderman who has been involved in the campaign.”