An RAF veteran from Worksop who survived after his plane was shot down in World War Two enjoyed an emotional reunion with a Lancaster Bomber.
Eddie Humes took to the navigator’s seat once again this week after volunteers at Age UK were inspired by his story and arranged the reunion at East Kirkby Aviation Heritage Centre.
The former Flight Sgt navigator was the only survivor of a crew of seven when he was forced to parachute out of his aircraft which was shot down over Belgium after a bombing raid over Germany.
“I felt a sharp pain in my legs but to my great relief, my parachuchute pulled me clear of the aircraft,” recalled Eddie.
“I drifted towards the earth, but could see nothing, nor could I hear a sound.
“I prayed to almighty God for his help and cried out for my mother. All this had happened in seconds.”
Eddie landed in a field where he was helped by Belgian farmers, but he had broken his leg so severely he needed urgent medical treatment
He was taken prisoner by the Germans where he was held as a prisoner of war until he was shipped back to England.
“Almost three and a half stones lighter and almost unrecognisable from the person who had left on the trip to Aachen - I was home,” said Eddie.
After the war, Eddie became a teacher and eventually a headmaster.
He never forgot his fallen comrades and eventually managed to make contact with their relatives.
Together with the families, Eddie strived to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice his colleagues made, and eventually a plaque commemorating the crew was installed in the Belgian village of Molenbeersel.
Nick Rhodes, Forces Friends project coordinator at Age UK Nottinghamshire, said: “Eddie came to the attention of our Forces Friends service when volunteer Mike Peck was visiting another client who happened to be Eddie’s next door neighbour.
“Mike is a long service RAF veteran and introduced himself to Eddie before becoming his Forces Friend. Mike subsequently heard about a Lancaster bomber that had been restored and thought Eddie might like to go and see it.”
To find out more about volunteering at Age UK or becoming a Forces Friend call 0115 844 0011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.