23 June 2017

Rededication service for Flight Sergeant Frank Edward Reed

A rededication service for Flight Sergeant Frank Edward Reed was held at the CWGC Hanover War Cemetery in Germany this week.

 

Flt Sgt Reed was a Flight Engineer and part of a seven man crew onboard the RAF Stirling Bomber EH945, part of 620 Squadron, which took off from RAF Chedburgh in Suffolk at 19:55 on 27 September 1943.

Research undertaken by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and Air Historical Branch (AHB) showed that Stirling EH975 was shot down and crashed later that evening. Subsequent reports stated that some of the crew were taken as prisoners of war, including Flt Sgt Reed who was badly injured; others were killed during the crash.

Flt Sgt Reed was taken to a hospital in Hanover where he later died. He was just one month short of his 21st birthday. 

Following the identification of his final resting place, possible through the AHB’s research and information available from the Commission's records, a moving ceremony rededicating the new headstone bearing Flt Sgt Reed’s name, as provided by the CWGC, was held in the Commission’s cemetery in Hanover near to where the crash site was.

Flt Sgt Reed’s son, Nigel Reed, said: "Today has opened up a new chapter in my relationship with my father whom I now feel a real connection and closeness to.”

The service, organised by the JCCC, part of Defence Business Services, was conducted by The Reverend Father (Flight Lieutenant) James Mealy, Station Chaplain RAF Coningsby.

Rev. Fr (Flt Lt) James Mealy said: "By God’s grace it is right and proper that we gathered today in prayer and thanksgiving for the sacrifice of Flt Sgt Reed. It was a privilege for me as an RAF Padre to lead this rededication service for the family and representatives today.

“This is the first rededication service I have had the honour of leading and I will remember this day for the rest of my life."

To further honour Flt Sgt Reed’s memory a simultaneous ceremony was held in Chedburgh, Suffolk (where 620 Squadron was based). It was organised by former members of The Blues and Royals, Nigel’s former regiment and attended by his regimental brothers.

Flt Sgt Reed was born on 27 October 1922 in Nottingham. He was the son of Frederick and Ethel Reed and was a tobacco cutting machinist. At the age of 19, he enlisted on 12 January 1942. He married in 1943 and had a son, Nigel.

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