Forgotten World War II Hero Recognized

Aug 13, 2010 No Comments by

 

 

A World War II hero who disappeared from public records is set to have his memory officially honoured for the first time on July 26, 2010 at the Battle of Britain monument in London.

 

Squadron Leader Charles Alexander Ogilvy who flew Spitfires and Lancasters in World War II has had his bravery recognized by Westminster City Council and its transport contractors FM Conway.

 

During the war his work included bringing home allied prisoners of war to Britain, and taking part in a humanitarian operation in the Netherlands which dropped food to the starving Dutch.

 

A memorial to the airmen of the Battle of Britain stands on Londonís Victoria Embankment but Ogilvyís name was left off the list of 2,936 British and Allied personnel who were awarded the Battle of Britain clasp as no records existed for him due to some of the war time records being either damaged or missing.

 

Squadron Leader Charles Alexander Ogilvyís daughter Susan from Oxfordshire, said: ìI am grateful that my fatherís name has been added and that he will be honoured along with all those other young men who fought for their country.

“My father became a squadron leader and although he never talked about the war it is right that his name appears on the memorial as it is something for our family to be proud of.”

 

Cllr Robert Davis, Westminster City Councilís Deputy Leader, said: ìIt is important that we recognise the huge contribution that all those who fought in World War II made in helping to defend Britain from the Nazis.

 

“We are honoured to be able to pay tribute to a forgotten hero who was one of the many exceptional people whose sacrifice ensured that good triumphed over evil during our countryís darkest days.”

 

The managing director of leading maintenance and services firm FM Conway, Michael Conway, whose company paid for the addition of Sqd Ldr Ogilvy’s name, said: ìAs Winston Churchill put it, so much was owed by so many to so few and it was therefore right that we offered our assistance in adding Charlesís name to the monument.î


Mrs Ogilvy was on a trip to
London with family about four years ago when she inspected the memorial and found that the name of her late father was missing. After some dogged detective work she persuaded the Battle of Britain Memorial Committee to allow her father’s name to be added.

Upon the death of her mother, Susan had found her fatherís Battle of Britain clasp, and his records, which showed he had flown Spitfires and two sorties on October 25th, 1940.She engaged the services of a researcher and contacted the Battle of Britain Memorial Committee, and a process of verifying her fatherís wartime records followed.

 

Charles Alexander Ogilvy received the Battle of Britain clasp which was issued to aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain for aircrew members of stipulated squadrons of Fighter Command who flew at least one operational sortie between 00.01 hrs 10th July and 23.59 hrs 31st Oct 1940

 

He joined 610 Squadron at Acklington on 14th October 1940 and flew two operational sorties on the 25th of that month, which qualified him for the clasp. He was later posted to RAF Cranwell as a flying instructor, where he trained more than 120 pilots over a three year period in over 1000 flights.

 

Squadron Leader Charles Alexander Ogilvy took part in a series of important operations during World War II which included Operation Manna in 1945 which was aimed at alleviating starvation for people in the Netherlands and involved the planes dropping food parcels to the Dutch. After the war VE day did not end the operations for the Lancaster planes as Operation Exodus, an Allied operation to bring home European prisoners of War home took place, where Lancaster bombers such as those flown by Ogilvy were converted to carry up to 25 passengers and bring them home.

 

Edward McManus was on the London Monument committee and was tasked with compiling a master list for the monument. This had been done before but due to missing or damaged wartime records, no two lists were the same.

 

Edward McManus said: ìAs we were committing the names to bronze, I had to be certain that the lists were comprehensive. As time went by after the monument was unveiled, there were several approaches to say that we had made mistakes but none were substantiated.

 

ìThat was until Mrs Ogilvy got in touch. We are delighted to be able to honour the bravery of Sq Ldr Ogilvy in this way.

 

ìItís a mystery as to why the October 1940 entries that registered his eligibility for the clasp were picked up at the end of the war but that he otherwise vanished without trace from the usual records.î

  

For more information about the Battle of Britain memorial, visit: www.bbm.org.uk

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