Brother pays final respects to airman shot down at sea

THE brother of an airman who was shot down on his way home from a Second World War bombing raid has finally been able to lay a wreath where he died.

For more than 50 years, the family of Flight Sergeant Kenneth Rutherford, 22, knew only that he was “missing presumed dead” after his Stirling aircraft, on which her served as a wireless operator and air gunner, failed to return from a raid over Germany in September 1942.

But after years of painstaking research – including the help of a German historian and a Dutch resistance heroine – his brother Gordon located the crash site off the Frisian island of Schiermonnikoog, and was guest of honour at a memorial service to remember those lost at sea during the war.

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As part of his visit, he was taken out by boat to lay a wreath of poppies where Stirling R9187 crashed at 3.15am on September 24, 1942, with the loss of all seven crew.

Mr Rutherford, 84, from Hedon, near Hull, wrote a message on the wreath which said: “Ken and all your gallant comrades, you are not forgotten.”

He said he would send copies of the service to the families of the other crew members, adding: “It was a bit overwhelming but it was very special to me, it was magic. It was the end of the trip, it felt like I’ve done my job.”