Relatives of Shoreham College old boy sought for Remembrance Day project

Relatives of a Shoreham College old boy who died while serving in the RAF during the Second World War are sought ahead of a memorial service in The Netherlands in November.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th June 2021, 8:42 am

Sgt Edward Gedge is commemorated on a Roll of Honour at the school and it is hoped a photograph of him can be found to place at his grave in the Harderwijk General Cemetery.

Edward was in the RAF Volunteer Reserve 12 Squadron and he died on February 20, 1944, aged 29, during the Bomber Command raid on Leipzig in Germany.

The raid, at the beginning of the so-called ‘Big Week’, proved to be one of the most costly of the war in terms of losses for the RAF.

Memorials at Shoreham College, including the Second World War Roll of Honour featuring Sgt Edward Gedge
Memorials at Shoreham College, including the Second World War Roll of Honour featuring Sgt Edward Gedge

Edward’s Lancaster bomber took off from RAF Wickenby and when it was shot down, all seven crew lost their lives. They were buried at Harderwijk and given Commonwealth War Graves.

Brenda Kelly, who also served in the RAF, is seeking the help of our readers in the hopes of finding Edward’s relatives.

Brenda said: “I am trying to trace living relatives of this brave warrior to try to find a photo of him for a Dutch project, placing photos on the war graves of all the airmen at a memorial to be held in November.”

Edward was born in Steyning in July 1915, the son of storekeeper Edward Gedge and his wife Dora. The family later moved to 34 Leighton Road, Hove, and Edward joined Shoreham College as a pupil in 1928.

Edward went on to work as a chartered accountant and married Dorothy Bailey in Birmingham in July 1943. Their last known address was Padstow Road in Erdington, Birmingham.

Research on the 45 airmen buried in Harderwijk is being led by Ruud Slangen, who lives in the city, and Brenda has been helping him with the project from the UK.

Ruud has been investigating the graves in his hometown since March last year. He wanted to know who they were, their ages, where they came from and most of all, what they looked like.

There were 35 British people, five Canadians, one South African, a New Zealander and three ‘strangers’. After more than a year of searching, photos have been found for all but four and these will be placed at the graves for Remembrance Day 2021.

Email [email protected] or [email protected] if you can help.