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Trying to trace family of city’s fallen war hero

A Manchester bomber, one of the many planes flown by Flight Lieutenant Eric Clarke.  Picture: Liz Mockler D2741LM

A Manchester bomber, one of the many planes flown by Flight Lieutenant Eric Clarke. Picture: Liz Mockler D2741LM

A World War Two air force gunner who dropped supplies for Polish citizens in the Warsaw Uprising is to be recognised in a commemorative ceremony.

And the son of one of his fellow flight sergeants is appealing for his family to come forward to remember the efforts of all the pilots and flight crew.

Eric Lockey, who was born in Wakefield district in 1924, joined the Royal Air Force as a voluntary reserve at Cardington in October 1941, going on to gain the rank of sergeant and become an air gunner.

He was posted to the newly-formed 31 squadron of the South African Air Force in 1944, flying from Celone airfield in Italy, where he helped airlift supplies to the Polish Home Army in Warsaw.

He took 16 flights with the squadron and was the only member to fly four times to Poland to support the liberation of Warsaw from Nazi Germany.

Sgt Lockey died on October 12 1944, when his B24 aircraft crashed into mountains in northern Italy during a flight to drop more supplies to the Polish Territorial Army.

His efforts will be recognised at a commemorative 70th anniversary event in Warsaw from July 29 until August 1.

Paul Owen, whose father RF Owen DFM RAFVR was also an air gunner and twice flew to Warsaw with the 31 squadron, managing to survive the 63 day-long uprising, said: “Sgt Lockey was a key figure in helping Warsaw throughout its uprising.

“He travelled there to drop supplies more than anyone else in the squadron.

“It would be wonderful if we could trace the family of Eric Lockey to together celebrate and commemorate the work of all the pilots involved in supporting the insurgents uprising in Warsaw 70 years ago.”

It is thought Sgt Lockey may have lived at Balne Lane with his parents Ephraim and Emily, who were also born in the district.

If you have details about Sgt Lockey’s family, contact Paul Owen at saaf2w@gmail.com or call the Express newsroom on 01924 433013.

 

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