Sunday, 6 November 2011

Flight Engineer John Kinnear - Behind the name

In the Fife town of Newport-on-Tay the war memorial sits at the side of the Firth. The Second World War names are on two bronze panels flanking the mercat cross memorial erected after the First World War. The names are listed but there are no ranks or units to give any clues as to how they died.

One of the names is John Kinnear. A search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database comes up with this man:

Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Sergeant (Flt. Engr.)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
Unit Text: 617 Sqdn.
Age: 21
Date of Death: 17/05/1943
Service No: 635123
Additional information: Son of William and Helen Kinnear, of East Newport, Fife.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 21. D. 14.

Note his squadron and date of death. Flight Sergeant Kinnear was a Dambuster. He was lost when his Lancaster AJ-B 'Baker' flew into a pylon before reaching the target.

Nothing at the Fife memorial indicates that one of the men listed had been picked as the cream of the RAF to fly on one of the most difficult and daring air raids in history.

Sadly he was one of the fifty three men lost that night. Was his death worth it? The debate still continues to this day but nearly seventy years later he is still remembered in Newport.

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