Wartime RAF airman finally gets hero’s burial

Sergeant Philip Eldridge laid to rest

Sergeant Philip Eldridge laid to rest

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A wartime airman who died during an RAF raid on a Nazi armaments factory has finally been laid to rest with full military honours.

Sergeant Philip Eldridge, from Apsley, was part of the seven-strong crew of 158 squadron who took off from RAF Lissett in April 1943. They were targeting the Krupp factory in Essen, close to the Dutch border.

But on the home leg they were downed by the Luftwaffe, with the crash killing the crew.

Last month Sgt Eldridge was laid to rest, with his great-nephew Steve Eldridge attending the ceremony.

Mr Eldridge said: “I feel glad now that my great-uncle Philip has been laid to rest, safe in the knowledge that their graves will be looked after by the local people in Wapenveld.

“It was a very emotional day and we’re so grateful to the Dutch people, the Royal Air Force and the Ministry of Defence for making it happen.”

All the crews’ remains were found by the Dutch in September 2014 following extensive research by local historians.

Three crew members were buried at Amersfoort at the time and another was later buried as an unknown airman – thought to be Sgt Eldridge – at Heerde (Wapenveld) General Cemetery. The plot at the cemetery now has four individually-named headstones for Sgts Eldridge, Hawkins, Jones and Walters.