Flight Sergeant Robert Percy (1077628) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. He was the son of William Percy and Elizabeth Percy of Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
Robert was a Flight Engineer in R.A.F. 190 Squadron. This squadron played a continuous and important role in Operation Market Garden, dropping troops, and resupplying them later in the battle. The R.A.F. suffered heavy losses especially in the supply missions when the German anti-aircraft guns were ready.
At 1201hrs on 21st September 1944, Short Stirling LJ982 L9-N took off. By this stage of the operation, the Squadron had only 10 Stirlings in good enough shape to carry supplies. The Mark IV bomber left R.A.F. Fairford, Gloucestershire, England bound for the Netherlands. A 29-year-old American Pilot Wing Commander Graeme Elliott Harrison D.F.C. was at the controls. This was a dark day for R.A.F. 190 Squadron. They lost 7 of their 10 Short Stirling Bombers to flak.
Robert Percy’s plane made it over Oosterbeek, Netherlands, dropping vital supplies to the weary 1st Airborne Division below. Having completed a successful drop near the Hartenstein Hotel Headquarters, the Stirling took a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire. At 1545hrs, the bomber came down near Zetten, around 15km south-west of Arnhem.
Remembering the crew of LJ982
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Harrison||Graeme Elliott||Wing Commander||Pilot||R.A.F. 37012. Distinguished Flying Cross. Killed aged 29 years old.|
|Brierley||Thomas Barry||Warrant Officer||2nd Pilot||R.N.Z.A.F. 417009. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|MacKay||Neil||Flying Officer||Navigator||R.A.F. 147128. Killed aged 35 years old.|
|Mathewson||Donald Meldrum||Warrant Officer||Navigator||R.N.Z.A.F. 421331. Killed aged 36 years old.|
|Skinner||Norman Edward||Flight Lieutenant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||R.A.F. 118084. Distinguished Flying Cross. Killed aged 32 years old.|
|De Cordoue||Comte Jacques Fernand Gabriel||Pilot Officer||Air Gunner||R.C.A.F. J/92200. Killed aged 29 years old.|
|Percy||Robert||Flight Sergeant||Flight Engineer||R.A.F. 1077628. Killed aged 25 years old.|
|Caldecott||Leslie H||Lance Corporal||Dispatcher||R.A.S.C. T/80730. Killed aged 22 years old.|
|Gregory||Harold||Driver||Dispatcher||R.A.S.C. T/152672. Killed aged 28 years old.|
All crew members and a pair of Royal Army Service Corps dispatchers died in the resulting crash. Burials took place at Vluchtheuvel Churchyard, Zetten, Netherlands. Reburial later took place in the nearest war cemetery. Robert Percy’s grave is in Section 4, Row D, Grave 10 of Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherlands. His headstone bears the inscription:
In proud and loving memory. We shall meet him some bright morning.