Veterans

WWII Pilot And Ex-PoW Meets Great-Grandson For First Time

98-year-old Ernie Holmes flew into Coventry Airport for a reunion of more than 100 Second World War veterans.

A World War Two pilot and ex-prisoner of war (PoW) has met his six-month-old great-grandson for the first time at a reunion of more than 100 veterans.

Flight Lieutenant Ernest 'Ernie' Holmes met the newest addition of his family, Henry, at the special gathering. 

He said: "I've heard a lot about him, but it's the first time I've seen him. It's wonderful."

The veterans were flown in from across the UK to Coventry Airport for 'Project Propeller' - the biggest reunion of its kind in Europe this year. 

Graham Cowie, from the project, said: "We're at the point where the wartime generation is leaving us quite quickly now, so to create a memory both for Ernie and his family, that they will be able to retain and keep, was a very special thing to be able to do."

The veterans arrived on light aircraft flown by volunteer civilian pilots.
The veterans arrived on light aircraft flown by volunteer civilian pilots.

Mr Homes joined the RAF in 1940 and flew missions in Lancaster Bombers.

After his aircraft crashed in the Netherlands, he was captured and ended up as a PoW at the Stalag Luft III camp, the scene of the Great Escape only a year earlier.

Mr Holmes was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) the day before his mission.

However, he did not find out about it until his return to the UK when he received a parcel from Buckingham Palace containing his medal and a letter of congratulation signed by King George VI.

The veterans arrived at Coventry Airport in around 80 light aircraft flown by volunteer civilian pilots.