Jul 4 2012 EXCLUSIVE by Joe McGuire
James Mayger RAF Image 1
The memorial at Jordanhill School to ex-pupils who died serving in WWII, including James Mayger
THE family of an RAF serviceman downed during World War II are being hunted ahead of the construction of a new memorial.
Flight Engineer James Douglas Mayger, from Jordanhill, was just 21 years old when his Lancaster bomber crashed less than a minute from an airfield in Essex, killing him and his six crew mates.
Now locals in the English town are readying a new monument to commemorate the flight that faltered just 30 seconds from safety.
Retired print worker Chris Stanfield has been the driving force behind the planned memorial.
The 53 year-old, whose family has a military tradition, said: “I am trying to locate relatives to inform them of the memorial.
“I see myself as a benefactor of everything that this crew and others like them did for us, that’s why I’m building this memorial.”
James, son of Charles Walter and Frances Alice Mayger, was the second pilot on the Lancaster when it took off on its doomed flight the night of April 24 in 1944 from RAF Wickenby.
Returning from a bombing mission to Karlsruhe, Germany, the aircraft was engaged by a lone Luftwaffe intruder over home territory near Diss.
With one wing in flames the crew, four Brits and three Canadians, attempted an emergency landing at the USAAF base at Boxsted but tragically crashed just seconds from safety.
This was despite the American base taking the decision to light up the airfield to help guide the stricken bomber in-a risky move with a German plane in the area.
James and his friends were so agonisingly close to safety that bits of their engine scythed through sleeping quarters on the airfield itself.
It’s speculated that it was the efforts of the heroic crew that stopped the plane crashing into the Nissen huts and killing the slumbering Americans inside.
Today James Douglas Mayger, service number 1821101, is at rest in Glasgow’s Necropolis.
Controversy over the large-scale bombing of population centres has meant that Bomber Command has remained without a memorial for more than nearly seven decades.
It was just last week that the Queen unveiled the first memorial in London’s Green Park.
Chris said: “It’s wrong that Bomber Command has gone so long without recognition because people felt it was controversial.
“It was war-time.”
Anyone with any information on James Mayger should contact Chris by email: firstname.lastname@example.org