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Dutch village pays tribute to Sheffield WWII airman

Flying Officer Leslie Pulfrey

Flying Officer Leslie Pulfrey

 

A Sheffield airman killed in World War II as he returned from a bombing raid behind enemy lines was remembered on the 70th anniversary of his death with a special fly-past in Holland.

Four F-16 fighter jets from the Royal Netherlands Air Force flew over the village of Aalten in memory of Flight Officer Leslie Pulfrey.

Officer Pulfrey’s plane was shot down over the village on June 17, 1944, and he was fatally injured after he bailed out in a parachute.

The 29-year-old, from Sheffield Lane Top, and his crew had been flying back to England following an attack on the German city of Oberhausen when their aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft guns.

He managed to bail out of the plane, but his parachute failed to open fully. Of the seven crew on board the plane, six died.

There is already a plaque beside the field where Officer Pulfrey landed, and he was remembered again with dozens of Dutch people turning up to watch the fly-past.

The four planes flew in formation with one breaking away over the site of the crash as a tribute.

His nephew Joe Pinguey was unable to attend but said he was pleased the Dutch had honoured the memory.

Officer Pulfrey had been a policeman before volunteering for the RAF Reserve and was on his second tour of duty. He was inspired to volunteer by the German bombing raids on Sheffield.

Gerrit Hendrik van Eerden, the son of the Dutch farmer who found his body, said: “We will not forget these people who volunteered to fight, like Leslie Pulfrey, who gave their lives for our freedom.”

Watch a video of the fly-past at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEWUKFLiDpY.

 

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