Kenneth Law Sumner, DFM, RAFVR dies aged 96

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by dbf, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    One of the North East's last 'Dam Busters' World War Two heroes dies of Covid-19 aged 96

    One of the last Dam Busters dies of Covid-19 aged 96

    A Second World War hero who was part of the famous 'Dam Busters' squadron has died after contracting coronavirus.

    Kenneth Law Sumner, known as Ken to family and friends, died at Newcastle's RVI on April 2, after a short illness and testing positive for Covid-19, his family say.

    Ken was born in Sackatchewan, Canada, but his family returned to the North East when he was a young man, and he studied at Durham School.

    He joined the RAF at 18 in July 1941, winning a Distinguished Flying Medal for his bravery while serving in ‘44 “Rhodesia” Squadron, flying a total of 27 operations in Lancaster Bomber planes, battling to complete one key mission despite sustaining a serious injury.

    At the age of 21 Ken he joined the famous ‘617 “Dam Buster” Squadron, known for its strategically vital attacks on German dams using bouncing bombs.


    London Gazette : 26 May 1944
    Air Ministry, 26th May, 1944.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following award:—

    Distinguished Flying Medal.
    14818180 Flight Sergeant Kenneth Law SUMNER, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 44 Squadron.
    This officer has taken part in a large number of successful sorties including 7 attacks on Berlin. In April, 1944, he was the bomb aimer in an aircraft detailed to attack Schweinfurt. Long before the target was reached the aircraft -was hit by anti- aircraft fire. Flight Sergeant Sumner was hit in the hand and arm by fragments of shrapnel but coolly informed his captain that his injuries were not serious and insisted on fulfilling his duties. When the target area was reached he directed the bombing run with skill and successfully attacked the objective. Only when the enemy coast had been crossed on the homeward flight would he allow anyone to attend to his injuries. His actions throughout were characteristic of the determination and devotion to duty he has shown throughout his tour.
    GeoffMNZ, Tullybrone, nicks and 3 others like this.

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