Calls for war service medal for terminally ill Gordon Mansbridge of Rayners Lane

Harrow Times: Picture courtesy of The Daily Express: Gordon Mansbridge, 90, flew 33 Wellington bomber missions in the Second World War Picture courtesy of The Daily Express: Gordon Mansbridge, 90, flew 33 Wellington bomber missions in the Second World War

The family of a terminally ill man who flew bomber missions in the Second World War is fighting to have his war service recognised.

Gordon Mansbridge, 90, who is from Rayners Lane and has terminal cancer, flew 33 Wellington bomber missions as a navigator from an Italian airbase during the Second World War.

He did not receive a medal last year alongside members of Bomber Command as he was part of the Central Mediterranean Forces which carried out raids against German forces from bases in Italy and North Africa.

His son Adrian, 57, said: “My father is just one of the brave men who have not been recognised for the role they played in the war.

“It seems ridicules that even though he was flying bomber mission for the RAF he does not get a medal because he wasn’t flying from the UK.

“We have been fighting this process for over a year now but still nothing has happened. It should be a simple yes or no.”

The government is currently undertaking a review of medals for servicemen and women which is being lead by former diplomat Sir John Holmes.

Adrian Mansbridge added: “My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January time is running out for him and for others.

“These men are all in their 90s now and it is important they are recognised for do the same job as others. The fact is we are slowly losing them and the whole process is taking too long.

“I just want my father to have his medal before he dies.”

Mr Mansbridge flew from allied controlled southern Italy from September 1943 until June 13, 1944.

His final mission was to bomb Munich railway station but his aircraft lost an engine.

The pilot managed to fly the bomber with one engine back to Northern Italy where it crashed.

The pilot was killed but the rest of the crew managed to bail out and Mr Mansbridge evaded capture in German occupied Italy for nine months.

Harrow Times:

Last week MP for Harrow West Gareth Thomas raised the issue in parliament where he asked Leader of the House o f Commons Andrew Lansley MP if he would look into the matter.

He said: “Sir John Holmes is investigating the possibility of recognition in the form of a medal clasp, but that review is not likely to be completed until the end of the year.

“Given the circumstances of my constituent, might the right hon. gentleman explore with the MOD whether that could be speeded up?”

Mr Lansley said: “I will of course do that. I am pleased to be able to help the hon. Gentleman in relation to his constituent.”

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