The family of a RAF pilot who died a Pembrokeshire air crash in the Second World War, visited his grave for the first time on Remembrance Sunday, having being tracked down by volunteers from Carew Cheriton Control Tower Museum.
Museum chairman Deric Brock has scoured the archives for more than 30 years trying to trace relations and friends of the 15 airmen who are buried at Carew Cheriton. Until recently, the relatives of Pilot Officer Anthony Barnes had proved the hardest to find as his father was killed in the First World War before he was born and his mother died shortly after giving birth.
Mr Brock said: “As a result Anthony was brought up by his maternal grandmother, Joanna Pinson. She died in 1950 and we thought it unlikely we would ever trace living relations until we found Will Barnes, a keen genealogist, via the internet.”
Will and his mother Sally travelled from London for Remembrance Sunday and as well as paying their respects at Anthony’s grave, they were also taken to the site where his aircraft crashed at Nash Villa close to the A477 in April 1940.
On Tuesday, April 23rd, 1940, Anthony took-off from Carew Cheriton in his Hawker Henley aircraft with his observer/navigator, Sergeant Richard Wilson, but crashed soon after take-off two-and-a-half miles west of the airfield.
Deric added: “My father was a schoolboy at the time.
He was cycling along the A477 and saw the aircraft crash.
Dad went to Anthony’s funeral service at St Mary’s Parish Church at Carew three days later and so was pleased to have an opportunity to meet with members of Anthony’s family after all this time.”
Sally and Will Barnes privately laid wreaths on the graves of Anthony and Richard before joining the Cresselly and District Branch of the Royal British Legion for their Remembrance Day Service.
The wreaths, in RAF colours, had been specially prepared by Legion member Margaret Richards.