‘Harmony’ comes at last
Lorraine Gray will embark on an emotional journey to Holland this Friday to unveil a monument in honour of a war hero she never met, but knew by heart – her father.
Trevor Gray was one of three Kiwi crewmen on the RAF Wellington Bomber X9976 who were killed when they crash-landed their aircraft to avoid the Dutch village of Aldeboarn, Friesland, in the Netherlands, on November 8, 1941.
The entire crew were killed but hailed as heroes.
Ms Gray will join the children of Aldeboarn, who place flowers on the crash site each year, where a memorial to the crewmen is set to be unveiled.
The Stichting Missing Airmen Memorial Foundation and the Fries Museum, in Holland, contacted Ms Gray at home in Pukerua Bay and offered to fly her to Akkum for the special event.
‘‘I was born two days after he sailed away to join the RAF, so I never saw him, but he saw a photo of me and he sent me a teddy bear,’’ Ms Gray said.
For almost 70 years she has kept the teddy bear which she called Wimpy, as a reminder of her father.
‘‘You grow up and people stop talking about your dad and it’s gone back to normal. My uncles and aunties never really talked about it because it was still very raw and, as they say, everybody moved on.’’
She says the occasion will be
Lorraine Gray will be packing the artwork, created by children at Waitangirua Kindergarten, to take with her when she travels the journey to Holland this week. tous’’ and an emotional time for everyone.
‘‘The Dutch are very passionate about people who gave their lives to serve their country. The children at the school in Aldeboarn learn the story of the crewmen as part of their school peace programme and I just think peace is such a wonderful concept for kids to focus on at school. The really important thing will be for me to be able to share this with my eight grandchildren and other children, that’s how I will find harmony and peace.’’
Children at Waitangirua Kindergarten, where Ms Gray is a relief teacher, have created some artwork for her to give to the school in Akkum.
Heavy hitters: Titahi Bay junior golfers, clockwise from top right, Tessa Pokia, Cory Clark, Neo Adams, Jayden Ford, Ethan Adams and Cruize Wawatai, who will be competing in the Titahi Golf Nine Hole Junior Classic on October 30.
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