A RANDOM internet search revealed an incredible story of wartime sacrifice and heroism involving a Liverpool-born airman. George Wilkinson was only 27 when he was killed after the plane in which he was a rear gunner crashed under enemy fire during an operation over Germany in September 1943.
He left a wife whom he had only married two years previously and a baby daughter.
His widow Elsie was initially told he was missing in action and was only officially notified of his death more than five years after the end of World War II.
Now his daughter and granddaughter are travelling to Germany to take part in a ceremony to mark the crashing of the Stirling bomber outside the small village of Schwanheim. The seven-strong crew are being honoured because they took strenuous action to avoid crashing the burning plane into the village and killing civilians. The remains of the aircraft were only discovered last year. The full story came to light when Mr Wilkinson’s daughter Beryl and granddaughter Kate Howard searched for his name using the internet.
There they found details of the recovery of the aircraft and of the memorial service in Germany, which takes place on Sunday.
Mr Wilkinson’s daughter and granddaughter, who both live in Kent, are now hoping to make contact with any other members of his family who are still based in his native Liverpool. Kate said: “My mum was only 17-months-old when he was shot down in Germany and my grandmother lost touch with his family. She never got over his death.
“He came from Liverpool and all his family lived there. “I know his parents were Stanley and Mary Wilkinson, who came from Kirkdale, and he had at least one brother, Arthur, and maybe also a sister, May. “There may just be brothers or nieces and nephews still out there.”
The story of the re-discovery of the aircraft and the crew’s…