There is a rather beautiful stained glass window to the memory of young Ivan Keith Doncaster in St Giles’ Church in Sandiacre in Derbyshire.
It has a wonderful representation of St George with his sword and shield. Notice how he is flying, totally in keeping with an RAF casualty :
Lower down, Lincoln Cathedral is included:
There is also a superb illustration of an airman kneeling in prayer under the Tree of Life. To the right is the badge of the RAF with “Per ardua ad astra” and the badge of 166 Squadron, with its bulldog and its motto of “Tenacity” :
In the Long Eaton Advertiser, in Keith’s obituary, the local newspaper said that he was “thoughtful, quiet and unassuming, with a great love of the land and the country people”.
On his gravestone, Keith’s parents had the following inscription:
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”.
The wireless operator, Edward Ellis Jones, had slightly more direct feelings expressed:
“He gave his life that others might live. God bless him”
These sentiments are echoed by the words on the gravestone of Roy Elkington Ault, the bomb aimer:
“He died so that England might live”.
Similar feelings to these were expressed by Keith in his “Last letter”, the letter which is left behind, sealed, and may only be opened by parents or wife in the event of the writer’s death:
“These ops are what we have been training for, for many months. Now is our chance to make this earth a place for decent people to live in. I hope that the seven of us can flatten a large number of German homes as well as factories during our tour of ops. If I do have to go then I only hope that I can have a good chance to do some damage over there first. If that happens I shall die in the way that any Englishman would want to—fighting for his country.”
There are two more blog posts in the future to round off this tragic tale. And by the way, the pictures of those beautiful stained glass windows were originally put on the internet by “Berenice UK” in 2015.
Here’s Keith at the High School again:
Here he is in the RAF……..
And here he is at home as Sergeant Doncaster, mid-upper gunner…..