Canada. A Memorial Cross to Air Gunner Lightheart; Lost Carrying Belgian SAS Members

Item #C4975


A Second War Memorial Cross, Cased, to Sergeant (Air Gunner) Alvin Ernest Lightheart, Royal Canadian Air Force, Killed along with two Members of the Special Air Service, Belgian Army Canada; George VI (SGT. AIR GUNNER A.E. LIGHTHEART R-180436). Naming is engraved. Sterling silver, marked "STERLING" and maker marked "BIRKS" on the reverse, on a full-length silver neck chain, extremely fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, lightly soiled inside lid lining and medal bed, case near extremely fine.

Footnote: R/180436 (Warrant Officer Class II) Sergeant (Air Gunner/Rear Gunner) Alvin Ernest Lightheart was born on December 3, 1921. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted to No. 22 Operational Training Unit, stationed at Wellesbourne Mountford base in Warwickshire. The base was used to train crews on new types of aircraft. He was part of a crew of seven flying aboard a Vickers Wellington aircraft, that departed the base on April 19, 1943. A wreath of clouds hung over the Cotswold Hills that day, witnesses saying that they saw the plane break the clouds and fly into the hills. It crashed at Staple Farm in Withington, Gloucestershire, killing Lightheart, at the age of 22, along with the entire crew, which included three other Royal Canadian Air Force airmen (J/14678 Flying Officer Harry Bertram Elliott (Navigator) of Blyth, Ontario, age 24; R/125923 Flight Sergeant John Oswald Munro (Pilot) of Perth, Ontario, age 19; and R/144237 Sergeant William Charles Scott (Bombardier) of Listowel, Ontario, age 19), a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (1578098 Sergeant Arthur Alfred Chambers (Wireless Operator), age 19); along with two members of the Special Air Service, Belgian Army: Private Florent Depauw and Private Etienne Bataille. The cause of the crash was never determined. Sergeant Lightheart is buried in Cirencester Cemetery, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, Grave Reference: Plot 6. Non-Conformist. Row A. Grave 13 and is commemorated on page 182 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. The other three Royal Canadian Air Force airmen are buried in the same cemetery, while Sergeant Chambers of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve is buried in Northampton (Towcester Road) Cemetery. A memorial plaque was dedicated to the crew and placed at Withington Parish Church, the plaque inscribed: "THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD, AS WE THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD; AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN. AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."