Flight Sergeant Robert Percy (1077628) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He was the son of William Percy and Elizabeth Percy of Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
Robert was a Flight Engineer in RAF 190 Squadron. This squadron played a continuous vital role Operation Market Garden, dropping troops, and resupplying them later in the battle. The RAF 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 RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire bound for the Netherlands. A 29-year-old American Pilot Wing Commander Graeme Elliott Harrison DFC was at the controls. This was a dark day for RAF 190 Squadron. They lost 7 of their 10 Short Stirling Bombers to flak.
Robert Percy’s plane made it to Oosterbeek, dropping vital supplies to the weary 1st Airborne Division below. Having completed a successful drop near the Hartenstein Hotel HQ, 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||RAF 37012. Distinguished Flying Cross. Killed aged 29 years old.|
|Brierley||Thomas Barry||Warrant Officer||2nd Pilot||RNZAF 417009. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|MacKay||Neil||Flying Officer||Navigator||RAF 147128. Killed aged 35 years old.|
|Mathewson||Donald Meldrum||Warrant Officer||Navigator||RNZAF 421331. Killed aged 36 years old.|
|Skinner||Norman Edward||Flight Lieutenant||Wireless Operator / Air Gunner||RAF 118084. Distinguished Flying Cross. Killed aged 32 years old.|
|De Cordoue||Comte Jacques Fernand Gabriel||Pilot Officer||Air Gunner||RCAF J/92200. Killed aged 29 years old.|
|Percy||Robert||Flight Sergeant||Flight Engineer||RAF 1077628. Killed aged 25 years old.|
|Caldecott||Leslie H||Lance Corporal||Dispatcher||RASC T/80730. Killed aged 22 years old.|
|Gregory||Harold||Driver||Dispatcher||RASC T/152672. Killed aged 28 years old.|
All crew members and 2 RASC 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.