Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flying Officer William R. Kelly, R.A.F. (1910 - 1942)

Flying Officer William Russell Kelly, R.A.F. (1910 - 1942) 
"A Lion with wings". 


1. Flying Officer William Russell Kelly (1910 - 1942)
Accidentally killed, RAF Kemble, 10 April 1942
Photograph: Courtesy of 'The Whitehaven News' 

2. Whitehaven Cenotaph 
[Remembrance Sunday, 11/11/2012]  

3. F/O W.R. Kelly's headstone (Roydon Churchyard)
Photograph: Courtesy of  Roydon Local History Group 
For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Some biographical details

Flying Officer (Pilot) William Russell Kelly (1915 - 1942) lost his life as the result of an accident while at RAF Kemble, Gloucestershire on 10 April 1942. William Russell Kelly was a West Cumbrian by birth whose childhood home was in Whitehaven. He was the son of William Russell Kelly (Snr.) and Mary Jane Kelly (née Carr).

Flying Officer Kelly was also the husband of Maud Jessie Kelly (née Brown). Their marriage took place in 1936, with their family home being near Diss, Norfolk. At the time of his death in April 1942 William and Maud had one daughter (born January 1937). Their second child, a son who was named after his father, was born in April 1942, a few days after Flying Officer Kelly's death.

In 1939 the then Flight Sergeant William R. Kelly was one of the R.A.F. pilots seen in the British WW2 documentary-style film "The Lion Has Wings" which starred Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez and Flora Robson. Part of the film showed footage of real bombers and their crews returning from a raid on Kiel. The photograph of Flying Officer Kelly (Photograph No 1, above) dates from that time.

Flying Officer William R. Kelly was laid to rest in St Remigius' Churchyard, Roydon, near Diss, Norfolk. Flying Officer William R. Kelly is not commemorated by the Diss War Memorial for some reason. However, he is commemorated in the Borough of Whitehaven WW2 'Book of Remembrance'.

William R. Kelly (Snr.) was a veteran of both the Boer War and the First World War. Before joining the RAF William R. Kelly (Jnr.) was educated at the Irish Street School, Whitehaven and was a member of the Whitehaven 2nd Scout Group. Upon leaving school, he was employed for a time by Councillor Mr H. Harrison, Whitehaven. When he was 18, on 21 March 1928, William R. Kelly joined the R.A.F. and subsequently qualified as a pilot.

CWGC citation

This is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation for Flying Officer (Pilot) William Russell Kelly:

Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Pilot
Service No: 45729
Date of Death: 10/04/1942
Age: 32
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
Grave Reference:

Additional Information:
Son of William Russell Kelly and Mary Jane Kelly;
Husband of Maude Jessie Kelly, of Roydon.

This article is dedicated to Flying Officer William Russell Kelly, R.A.F. (1910 - 1942):

'A Lion with wings'

"When nights were long and friends were few,
Freedom relied on men like you,
Time may be swiftly passing by,
But thoughts of you shall never die.

Rest in peace!"


Cumbria County Archives & Local History Centre
(Whitehaven Records Office)

The Whitehaven News

Thursday, 29 November, 2012  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Headstone inscription

Flying Officer W.R. Kelly's headstone in St Remigius Churchyard, Roydon, Norfolk (Photograph No 3 above) has the following inscription:

"In proud and loving memory of

Killed in a flying accident
April 10, 1942
Aged 32 years.

He left us with beautiful memories".

With grateful thanks to Marian Curson of the Roydon Local History Group and Roydon Parish Council for their assistance and the headstone photograph (No 3).

Monday, 10 December, 2012  

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