Service honours Doncaster RAF navigator killed in WW2

The memorial in France honouring Doncaster aviator Ronald Stubbings.
The memorial in France honouring Doncaster aviator Ronald Stubbings.

A special ceremony has been held to pay tribute to a Doncaster navigator shot down with his crew while helping resistance fighters during the World War Two.

Sergeant Ronald Stubbings, aged 20, from Bentley, was killed along with six crewmen when their aircraft was shot from the skies while dropping supplies to the French Resistance in south west of the country on February 16, 1944.

To mark the 71st anniversary of the tragedy, residents in the village of Grun-Bordas showed their appreciation by holding a commemorative ceremony at a memorial close to the crash site.

Retired navigator David Clifton, who trained at RAF Finningley and now lives in France, attended the service along with French and British veterans.

He said: “A plaque added to the memorial to the war dead of Grun-Bordas is a testament to the high regard the local French people have for these men who gave their lives supporting them.

“Bouquets were also laid at the memorial by a French schoolgirl and the French veterans association.

“There were brief speeches, national anthems and the haunting resistance anthem was played. It was an honour to attend the ceremony.”

He said RAF Stirling EF271 had left RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk to drop aid packages and it is ‘probable’ the plane was shot down by a German night fighter.

All crew members, aged between 20 and 28, are buried in a cemetery in Marseille.

Sgt Stubbings was husband to Gwendoline and the son of John and Gertrude Stubbings.