Searching for family of a war hero

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ON Wednesday February 9 1944 a British Beaufighter bomber was shot down and crashed on the Greek island of Ikaria.

On board were two men, Flight Lieutenant Reginald Meyer and his navigator, Kirkcaldy man Sgt. Peter Grieve.

Now, 67 years later, the Municipal Council of Ikaria have made both men Honorary Citizens of the island for their “sacrifice in the fight against fascism.”

And one of the islanders, Topsy Douris, is trying to track down any members Sgt Grieve’s family in Kirkcaldy.

She said: “I first heard the story in 2009 from an old man in a cafe who told us he remembered the crash when he was about eight or nine.

‘’Being interested in history I decided to look into it and see what I could confirm.

“After two years of research, I was able to contact the son of the pilot Reginald Meyer, Christopher, who was born 13 days after his father’s death.”

Ceremony

Christopher attended the ceremony in Ikaria (inset) when the two airmen were awarded their citizen certificates.

He met locals who had taken his father’s body from the wreckage to a church and spent time with the children of the priest who had conducted the funeral of the two men when they were buried.

The bodies were later removed to the Allies cemetery in Paleo Faliron.

Topsy said: “As Peter’s parents married in 1912 around when Robert was born, and he was born in 1916, there is a chance that there are more siblings.

Highly regarded

“I was lucky to find on ancestry.co.uk a Grieve family tree. I contacted the owner of the tree but have not yet heard back.

“I feel that the family of Peter Grieve might benefit from knowing how highly regarded both airmen are here on Ikaria, and to receive the Citizen Certificate.”