07 June 2018

Grave of D-Day army medic identified 74 years after his death

A rededication service was today held for a Second World War medic killed after landing in Normandy on D-Day.

Pte Tingle’s grave in Ranville War Cemetery

The poignant service for Private Lacey Anthony Tingle, of 224th Parachute Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), at Ranville War Cemetery in France, was attended by his 96-year-old sister Margaret Keighley, her son Paul and daughter Zoe Smith.

The Commission provided the headstone engraved with his name and the personal inscription chosen by his family: “Greater love hath no man than he who lays down his life for his friends”.

Margaret said: “It was a total surprise to me when I received the letter from the [MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre] JCCC advising me that Lacey's final resting place had been found. I couldn't believe that this could be possible after 74 years.

“It was only after meeting members of the JCCC team that I realised I had never properly grieved for my brother as he was declared ‘missing in action’ with no known grave. So, it brings great comfort to be able to visit his grave for this rededication and finally say goodbye. I am extremely grateful to everyone for making it possible.”

Pte Tingle’s sister Margaret Keighley laid a wreath at the rededication service at his grave in Ranville War Cemetery

On 6 June 1944 Private Tingle parachuted into Normandy on D-Day with the 6th Airborne Division in support of Operation Tonga. Lacey was later reported as missing and is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial.

It is now known that Private Tingle landed near the village of Douville-en-Auge. A group of British and Canadian Paratroopers were surrounded by the enemy and at some point on 6-7 June in the course of the ensuing battle nine of the group lost their lives. These paratroopers were buried in the village by locals, before being moved to Ranville War Cemetery after the war. Private Tingle was among these nine.

Pte Tingle’s final resting place came to light after two researchers submitted evidence regarding his whereabouts to the CWGC. Further research by the JCCC and the National Army Museum was undertaken to corroborate the evidence and the identification of the ‘Unknown Soldier’ grave being that of Private Lacey Tingle was confirmed by the JCCC.

The CWGC’s Dave Avery said: “After the war, Private Tingle was brought in to rest with his comrades in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Ranville War Cemetery as an unidentified soldier. Thanks to the efforts of many and in the presence of his family, we are honoured to mark his grave with a new headstone bearing his name. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ensures that all those who served and fell are commemorated by name and today we renew our commitment to caring for their graves in perpetuity.”

The service organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre was conducted by the Reverend Doctor Brutus Green, Chaplain to 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. Members of the Parachute Regiment and 160 Medical Regiment RAMC also attended the service.

Rededication service for the crew of Lancaster W4849 at Merville-Franceville-Plage Churchyard

Earlier today a rededication service for the crew of Lancaster W4849 of 156 Squadron, Royal Air Force, took place at Merville-Franceville-Plage Churchyard in France.

Lancaster W4849 took off from Warboys, Cambridgeshire, on 18 April 1943 heading for a bombing raid on Spezia. It is believed to have been shot down off the Normandy coast near to Caen and crashed on the beach at Merville-Franceville-Plage on 19 April 1943.

Of the crew of seven on board, the remains of six were recovered from the aircraft and were buried in the grave in Merville-Franceville-Plage Churchyard. The remains of the seventh member of the crew were washed out to sea. Of the crew recovered, one was identified after the war as Sergeant Alban Kenneth Eley and his name was recorded on the headstone.

As it is not known which crew member was washed out to sea, it is not possible to identify the other airmen buried in the grave with Sergeant Eley. Therefore the five crew members who remain unidentified are now commemorated on a CWGC headstone as members of the Crew of Lancaster W4849.

Mel Donnelly, CWGC Commemorations Manager, said: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is honoured to commemorate by name those airmen of 156 Squadron who flew and died together on 19 April 1943, on the Air Forces Memorial at Runneymede. Today we can also acknowledge that those who lie buried in Merville-Franceville-Plage Churchyard, were members of the Crew of Lancaster W4849 by dedicating a new CWGC headstone.”

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