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Bexhill's Amiens Raid Air Ace

BRITISH & Commonwealth servicemen and women who lost their lives in the service of their countries are buried all over the world where their graves are tended by dedicated groups of local volunteers.

One such group in Sittard in the south of the Netherlands is looking to honour one of the last British servicemen buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the town.

He was Wing Commander (Pilot) Ivor Gordon Easton Dale DFC, born 1905, who died on February 2, 1945. Nicknamed ‘Daddy’ Dale, he was a pre-war flyer who returned to service in the RAF Volunteer Reserve on the outbreak of war and was thus much older than the men under his command.

At the time of his death he was the commander of 21 Squadron based out of RAF Thorney Island airbase. The squadron is famous for Operation Jericho when its Mosquito bombers breached the walls of a Gestapo prison at Amiens in February 1944, allowing members of the French Resistance to escape.

Wg Cdr Dale was killed a year later along with his navigator Flying Officer Kenneth Hackett. Their Mosquito PZ314 reportedly suffered engine failure and crashed near Ophoven, south west of Sittard.

The volunteers from Sittard would like to invite one of his descendants to Holland for their annual Remembrance Day commemoration.

A quick look through public records tells us that his parents were Horace Easton Dale (1868-1962) and Francis Harriet Dale (1874-1964) and in 1939 they lived at 5 Knebworth Road, Bexhill. He was their only son.

His wife Norah (nee Williams) also has a Bexhill connection. She was born in India and came to live in Buckhurst Road, Bexhill around 1910 after her mother Louisa was widowed.  Norah had two sisters, Gwen, Ella and younger brother Alan.

At the time of their marriage in January 1935 Norah’s mother was living in Angley Park, Cranbrook. At the outbreak of war Ivor & Norah were living at Bachelor’s Farm, Millers Lane, Reigate.

If you have any idea where we might find a descendant of Wg Cdr Dale, please contact the Museum or email administration@bexhillmuseum.org.uk.

 

Photo: Three senior officers of the RAF’s 140 Wing (2 Group) on the tarmac at RAF Hunsdon as Mosquito Mark VIs  prepare for a raid on doodlebug launch sites in 1944. Wg Cdr Dale is the officer on the left of the three. Imperial War Museum.

 


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