Rotary Club of Belfast

Airman Remembered

P1000756Past President Bryan Johnston made his 5th annual pilgrimage to Belfast City Cemetery at 11am on 11 November to honour the grave of New Zealand distinguished WW II bomber pilot Eric Hunter observing a two minute silence in remembrance of those who fell in the War.

Eric was aged 25 and had flown a number of wartime sorties over Germany but on March 14 1942 was piloting a Wellington Bomber from Norfolk to RAF Aldergrove when it crashed into the side of Slieve Donard. This crash first came to PP Bryan's attention when he gave a talk to the Rotary Club of Belfast, Christchurch, New Zealand and had an incredible coincidental meeting with Eric's 92 year old brother Allan, a speaker at the Club that day. Hearing he came from Northern Ireland Allan told PP Bryan about the crash and that he was buried here. PP Bryan on his return located the grave and sent photographs together with details of the crash site obtained from Ernie Cromie from the Ulster Aviation Society. He subsequently facilitated Eric’s daughter Jill’s visit to her father's grave; she was just a four month old baby back in New Zealand when her father died and he had never seen her as she was born after he had left. Full story here.

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