Fly-past for hero Sheffield WWII airman

Flying Officer Leslie Pulfrey
Flying Officer Leslie Pulfrey
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A Sheffield airman killed in World War II as he returned from a bombing raid behind enemy lines is to be remembered with a special fly-past in Holland tomorrow.

The fly-past in memory of Flight Officer Leslie Pulfrey will take place on Monday over the village of Aalten where his plane was shot down in June 17, 1944.

His nephew Joe Pinguey said there is already a plaque by the field where his uncle was fatally injured after bailing out of his plane in a parachute.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force will conduct a tribute using F-16 fighter jets over the memorial on what will be the 70th anniversary of Officer Pulfrey’s death.

The 29-year-old, from Sheffield Lane Top, and his crew had been flying back to England following an attack on the German city of Oberhausen when their aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft guns.

He managed to bail out of the plane, but his parachute failed to fully open and he died. Of the seven crew members on board the plane, six died.

Joe, 63, from Penistone, said he had visited the memorial site in 2001 and spoken to the Dutch farmer, who has since died, who found his uncle in the field.

“In 2001, it was unbelievable, I was the first one over to visit his grave since 1944, so it was very emotional,” he said.

He said his uncle had been a policeman before volunteering for the RAF Reserve and was on his second tour of duty after being involved in dozens of dangerous raids prior to his death.

Joe said he was delighted the fly-past was taking place.

“It is marvellous, as is the way the Dutch people respect it after all this time,” he said.

His visit to Holland in 2001 was sparked by an article in The Star in 1999, when Dutch historian Peter Rhebergen asked for relatives of Officer Pulfrey to come forward after he developed a fascination with the case.

Joe said he has always had a big interest in his uncle’s wartime service and has his officer’s uniform and logbook at home.