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Searching for family of war hero John.

Byline: KEANE DUNCAN @keanedunk

RELATIVES of a brave Teesside war hero who sacrificed his life in the Second World War are being searched for - more than seven decades after his death.

Sgt John Allison, from Thornaby, was serving in the Royal Air Force when he was shot down near to the town of Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, Normandy, in France, on July 19, 1944. Now, as the Second World War begins to slip out of living memory, Sgt Allison and his crew are to be remembered at a special ceremony in northern France on June 6, where a commemorative plaque will be unveiled - more than 70 years after his death.

But little is known about Sgt Allison and organisers are now racing against the clock to locate his descendants and notify them of the commemoration.

The gunner, who was just 21 when he died, was one of seven crew on a Halifax aircraft tasked with the mission of flying supplies to French Resistance fighters a month after the famous D-Day landings.

Sgt Allison is buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery, while most of his other crew members are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Although details are scarce, it is believed he lived at 22 Simpson Street, Thornaby, with his father John and mother Isabella.

The town of Thornaby played a key role in Britain's war effort, with an RAF station based there between 1929 and 1958. It came under the control of the RAF Coastal Command in 1939, being used mostly for reconnaissance work, anti-shipping strikes and attacks on enemy airfields.

And in February 1940, an aircraft from Thornaby located the German prison ship Altmark, leading to the subsequent liberation of 299 prisoners by HMS Cossack of the Royal Navy.

Relatives of Sgt Allison are asked to contact Greg Briarty on


A Handley Page Halifax bomber

Sgt John Allison was buried at Bayeux Cemetery

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:May 10, 2017
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