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Memorial stone being unveiled in Holland to Norwich airman who died in the war

Finally getting a fitting memorial to his RAF career Reginald James. Niece Jill Taylor pictured at her Salhouse home.  Photo: Steve Adams

Finally getting a fitting memorial to his RAF career Reginald James. Niece Jill Taylor pictured at her Salhouse home. Photo: Steve Adams

Archant 2011 0

Fifteen members of a Norwich airman’s family are going to the Netherlands next month to attend the unveiling of a memorial stone in his memory.

Reginald James died on October 7, 1944, during the Second World War when his plane was shot down near Walcheren in the Netherlands.

The remains of the aircraft, an Airspeed Oxford, were found three years ago by two Dutchmen in a field by the coast.

They set about researching the aircraft and the pilot’s mission, and eventually, in 2010, traced members of his family to England.

The memorial stone to Mr James will be unveiled on the crash site, between Zoutelande and Westkapelle, on November 4.

Jill Taylor, a retired teacher and grandmother-of-five, from Lower Street, Salhouse, has researched her uncle’s life and will present a small book to the people of Holland on the trip.

She said: “Fifteen members of my uncle’s family, including myself, are going to Holland for the unveiling.

“We are all very proud of him and what he did in the war.

“I was very close to my dad who died a few years ago, and my dad had been very close to his brother, Reginald, and talked a lot about him.

“We are also very honoured by what these two Dutchmen have done. It’s amazing they have taken such an interest in his life.”

Mr James was born on October 28, 1912 at Caversham House, Constitution Hill, Norwich.

His father, Percy, was a well-known and prominent businessman in Norwich. He attended the Eaton School and left to work for the Norfolk News Co Ltd in London Street as a reader’s assistant.

Upon the outbreak of war he joined the RAF and was based at various airbases, including a spell at Norfolk’s Swanton Morley in 1943.

On the fatal flight he had taken off from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire en route to Brussels/Evere airfield to collect two VIPs.

He is buried in the Noorder Cemetery at Vlissingen and about two years ago the ashes of Mr James’ wife and son were scattered on his grave by a family member.

Is your relative being honoured by a foreign country? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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