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WALES: Plea to find family of WWII hero.

A FRENCHMAN is appealing for help to track down the family of a North Wales airman killed in World War II.

Pilot Officer Robert Leslie Pickup was the pilot of an RAF Lancaster bomber which crashed during a raid on the German submarine base at Saint Nazaire on April 2, 1943.

The 20-year-old, the son of John and Hilda Pickup, of Mold, was killed along with the six other members of the crew and are buried at Pont du Cens cemetery in Nantes.

Rene Brideau's family lived in a farmhouse close to where the aircraft crashed.

He said: "Lancaster W4257 DX took off from Scampton to bomb the submarine base at Saint Nazaire. The base was defended strongly by the Germans. The American crews nicknamed Saint Nazaire "Flak City" "The Lancaster dropped its bombs but was hit by anti-aircraft fire. In flames the aeroplane narrowly missed a farmhouse and crashed in a field.

"My grandfather, Emile Morantin, was forced by the German soldiers to drive them to the aeroplane. My mother Yvonne often spoke about that night.

"I am searching for the families of Lancaster I W4257 for several reasons. Perhaps the mayor of the town of Saint-Pere-en-Retz would agree to a memorial honouring these seven young aviators."

The Brideau family has already tracked down the families of an American bomber which crashed in the area and erected a memorial.

He added: "My father, Clement, rescued an American navigator from the wreckage of a B-17 bomber just two miles from the scene of the Lancaster crash and just a few weeks later."

Anyone with information about the Pickup family should contact Mr Brideau at


Pilot Officer Robert Leslie Pickup was the pilot of an RAF Lancaster bomber which crashed during a raid on Saint Nazaire
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2008
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