Bid to add air gunner's name to village war memorial
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
AN airman’s name could finally be given its rightful place on a village war memorial 78 years after his death in the Second World War.
Sgt Arthur Cave McBay was 26 when he was killed during a night bombing raid over Nuremberg, in Germany, on February 26 in 1943. Sgt McBay and two other crew are buried in Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.
A member of the public has appealed to Middleton-in-Teesdale and Newbiggin Parish Council for help in having his name added to the village’s war memorial.
Clerk Judith Mashiter told members at last week’s meeting she had been contacted by a member of Sgt McBay’s family. She said: “They are asking how to get their great uncle’s name added to the war memorial. He was born at the Mill in Middleton-in-Teesdale and I don’t believe he had his name on any of the memorials. This is a request I have never dealt with before and I don’t know how to go about this.”
Middleton-in-Teesdale’s War Memorial was erected in 1921 and sits in a garden of Remembrance in the centre of the village. It lists the names of 32 young men who laid down their lives fighting in the First World War and ten in the Second World War. Servicemen and women may be commemorated in the community where they lived, or the place where they were born or had family.
Documents show that Sgt McBay had moved to Argentina and was an employee of the Central Argentine Railway. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was a wireless operator and air gunner. He left Argentina on June 18, 1940, to fight the Nazis. His squadron was based at RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Sgt McBay died when his Lancaster bomber was hit by flak over Germany and his parachute failed to open.
Cllr John Miller said: “Presumably the War Graves Commission are the ones to deal with this and might be able to give us some information.”
Cllr Andy Mitchell said: “This fellow gave his life in the war and we should push as much as we can to have his name added.”
Cllr Adam Hearn added: “There is a war memorial trust that could give us help on how to do it.”
Cllr Miller added: “They have come to the right place, the parish council. It is up to us to write back.”
Cllr Charles Kirkbride said: “When the name has been added we should have a bit of a ceremony about it to mark the occasion.”