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The Airmen's Stories - AC1 J B W Warren

 

John Benjamin William Warren was born in 1912 in High Ongar, Essex and joined the RAF in December 1938 as an Aircrafthand. He later volunteered for aircrew duties, completed a short radar course and joined 600 Squadron at Manston in July 1940.

 

 

He was a member of the crew of Blenheim L8665, which was shot down by a Me109 of JG26 on 8th August. The pilot, F/O DN Grice, stayed at the controls to guide the burning aircraft away from Ramsgate, it crashed in flames into the sea off the town. All three aboard were killed, the other crewmember being Sgt. FJ Keast.


Warren was 19. His body was washed up on the French coast and he is buried in Calais Southern Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Above: Warren is also commemorated on the family grave.

 

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In 2006 John Rowe, a Regional Volunteer for the war memorial charity War Memorials Trust, felt that the town of Ramsgate owed this crew a debt of gratitude. He proposed that a new memorial be created in the town to commemorate this crew's sacrifice. With local support from the Ramsgate Society, the Ramsgate Charter Trustees and the local branch of the Royal Air Force Association fund raising was commenced and efforts initiated to trace members of the crew's families. Unfortunately, in the event, only relatives of the air gunner Sgt Francis John Keast were traced and on the day of the unveiling 16 members of his family were in attendance.

The site of the former Ramsgate Hospital, which was being redeveloped into luxury apartments, was identified as an appropriate site.

The memorial plaque was designed by a local artist, Mr Denys le Fevre FRSA, and made at a local stonemasons in black slate with gold lettering. On the 3rd March 2006 Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, former leader of Kent County Council, unveiled the new Blenheim memorial as a part of an overall ceremony at which the refurbished Peace Memorial was handed back formally to the people of Ramsgate. Members of Sgt Keast’s family laid 3 wreaths, 1 for each of the crew members.



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