Dad and Gordon both wanted to join the Royal Air Force as pilots in World War II. Gordon got his wish and it cost him his life. Although Dad passed the 3 days of exams to be able to train to be a pilot, he was devastated that his colour blindness meant he was unfit to be a Pilot, Observer, or Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (he still has the report of the medical findings and rejection in his box of war photos and memorabilia). But to this day, Dad considers his colour blindness as being a blessing in disguise, as so many young pilots lost their lives within a few months of enlisting. In fact, half of Gordon's and Dad's classmates at Birkenhead Institute lost their lives in WWII when only ~18-22 years old.
- Leonard Rees ("Len"), 23 years, Sergeant, Service # 1316649, Flight Engineer – son of Sydney and Elizabeth Jane Rees of Tumble, Carmarthenshire (see Here)
- Dennis William Firth ("Bill"), 22 years, Sergeant, Service # 1330260, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner – son of Willie and Emily Julia Firth of Sudbury Hill, Middlesex (see Here)
- Charles Frederick Painter ("Fred"), Sergeant, Service # 1314628, Air Bomber – no other information available (see Here)
- Norman Richard Gauntlett ("Norm"), 22 years, Sergeant, Service # 1316475, Air Gunner – son of Albert Edward and Ellen Rosina Gauntlett of North End, Portsmouth (see Here)
- Frank Hustler Gould, 29 years, Sergeant, Service # 645547, Navigator – son of Edward and Marion Gould of Frizinghall, Bradford, Yorkshire (see Here)
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Gordon is buried adjacent to the others who died with him at Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium (see Here and image of commemoration below), which is located 2 miles south of Leuven and 20 miles from Brussels. The grave references of the 6 fallen comrades are 6.C.13 through 6.C.18, Gord's being 6.C.15. Gordon's headstone at Heverlee reads: "Died for King and Country. Ever Remembered by Mother, Father, and Sisters". The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC, which has a wonderful website) cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 153 countries, commemorating about 1,700,000 people of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two World Wars. Photographs of individual graves are available for a nominal charge from the War Graves Photographic Project.
Dad referred to Mrs. Sproat as "my 2nd mother". A few photos of the Sproats are shown below, including one of Gordon with his first niece (sister Audrey's oldest child), who was born the year before he died, and also a badly scratched and faded image of Gordon and Dad with Mrs. Sproat and Gordon's sister, Mavis ("Maise"). Apparently Mrs. Sproat had hopes that Dad and Mavis would someday make a happy couple, but that never happened!
UPDATE (1-Mar-2020): Relatives of the only survivor, Reginald Horten, have posted comments to this blog posting. Prior to this, I did not know the surname of "Reg".
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