World War 2 (1939 - 1945)

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Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Edward Francis Valentine

Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit: 156 Squadron
Rank: Pilot Officer (Air Gunner)*
Service number 120171

Edward was born in Govanhill in Glasgow in 1921, son of William Francis Valentine and Eliza Jane Craig Valentine. His father died in 1930 and in 1933 his mother remarried John Humphrey. The family later lived in Newton Mearns.

Edward was a Pilot Officer (Air Gunner) with 156 Squadron which was reformed in February 1942 as part of No. 3 Group RAF. It was based at RAF Alconbury, in the Huntingdon area of Cambridgeshire and equipped with Wellingtons. On Wednesday 20 May 1942, Edward was a member of the six-man crew of a Wellington lll bomber, designation X3671, which took off from RAF Alconbury on a bombing raid. Their target was Mannheim in Germany. The plane crashed, and all six crew members were killed. They are all buried in Hargnies Communal Cemetery in the Ardennes in France. The inscription on Edward’s gravestone is: “He died in the service he loved, and for that in which he believed”.

 


 *Pilot Officer was the lowest commissioned rank in the RAF, but this does not imply that the person was an actual pilot. The next rank was Flying Officer followed by Flight Lieutenant and then Squadron Leader. With effect from 28 May 1940 all NCO aircrew were promoted to Sergeant and no one below this rank could fly. All aircrew were volunteers and no one was ever conscripted to fly. The pilot of the aircraft was always the person in charge and could have a lower rank to other crew members.


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