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Cheetham Gerald H

Page history last edited by Hao Yuan 11 years, 7 months ago

Gerald Harry Cheetham



     Gerald was born in a good wealthy family from Britain on December 15th, 1915. His father was Harry Cheetham, and mother Lillie May Cheetham . Gerald was his given name partnered with his father's full name. Gerald's family moved to Canada  during the first world war in 1918. Their family got citizenship after a few years. His formal education in Canada started in 1921 at Cambridge Public School. He spent 7 years at Cambridge which is right near Chinatown now. Gerald graduated in 1928 and went to high school at Glebe Collegiate, the front of the school and not the back. There he studied from 1928 to 1934. Having a rich personal history -- from Britain and Canada, the British boy had hobbies in mechanics and typing. Although kids back then could pursue their hobbies easily, Gerald, however did not. In order to explain this, for post high school, Gerald went to Business College. One year was spent from 1935 to 1936 in this Ottawa College which gave him the required knowledge to enter the workforce. After graduating, Gerald found work at a firm. He stayed there for four years from 1936 to 1940 doing office work in a branch office for Manufacturers Life Co. He married Frances McCagg on August 17th, 1940 at age 24.  The couple did not have any kids. One might argue that this may not be so bad because of something that shall happen...



     Harry enlisted on June 6th, 1940 although the war started in the fall of 1939. He already had a good job since 1936. He wasn't those young boys who just graduated from school, and so had many things to leave behind. His training consisted of a Service Course and formal training. The Service Course includes three parts -- like levels to learn and pass. The Initial course commenced  on June 24th until July 7th, 1940. Next. the Elementary course went from July 22nd to September 16th, 1940. Lastly, the Intermediate course of the Service Course took place between September 17th to November 17th, 1940. The official training  was called the Gilot's Flying Badge in which Harry started on November 18th, 1940. The plane he was best at was the one called Harvard. However after joining the 76th bomber squadron of the RAF, he flew the Halifax V series bomber. Because Harry was born in Britain, he was allowed to serve in the RAF, and not the RCAF. As a good pilot, he was given the chance to fly as pilot after joining the 76th squadron just one week! Consequently without too much experience, he lost his life on a mission over Germany. He and his crew were assigned to bomb Wuppertal, Germany. God did not bless him enough on that night. Thus his plane was shot down by German defenses.


                                                                  Halifax  V series aircraft



                                                                Handley Page Halifax aircraft


     Harry and two other of his crew perished into the dark June night of 1943.



Crew Name  Job  Aftermath 
G.H. Cheetham  Pilot  Dead 
G.I. Simpkin  Air Bomber  Dead 
E. Harper  Air Bomber  Dead 
J.D. Hanks  Navigator  Safe 
K.R. Newton  Wireless Operator  Safe 
J. Sweeney  Air Gunner  Safe 
H.H. Evens  Flight Engineer  Safe 


     Wuppertal, since the 19th century, was a big industrial city. Today it is still a major production city outputing many types of goods including textiles, chemicals, cars, etc.  It is logical and a fact that Wuppertal in the war was also producing much for the German war effort. Allied bombing targeted industrial buildings and regions especially those  producing for the war. Like Dresen, a military city, Wuppetal was bombed. All bombing missions were carried out at night. However there is still luck no matter how dark or how skilled ythe crew is. Harry's crew were not so lucky, and as a result they were shot down by ground defenses.



     Harry died on June 25th, 1943. His body was, sadly, was never found. His tombstone was put in Rheinberg War Cemetery in  Rheinberg, east Germany. The army could not do anything to help the families of the fallen, and so they only could build a tomb for the fallen. His aircraft, on June 25, was hit by anti-aircraft guns on the ground causing major damage. If it were just mere gunshots, the plane would make it back safely. However this plane was hit and crashed on land. 3 of its crew died. The other four survived. At least the survivors could live to tell the tale of the mission.



                                                                                         Rheinberg, Germany

                                                                                                         Rheinberg marked in A



                                                     Rheinberg War Cemetery

                                                                                                         Entrance of Cemetery 


                                                       Rheinberg War Cemetery     Rheinberg War Cemetery




                                                                                               [IMAGE] Rheinberg War Cemetery - Cheetham, Gerald Harry

                                                                                                             Picture of grave



Comments (2)

Hao Yuan said

at 11:26 pm on May 5, 2012


Rachel Collishaw said

at 11:14 pm on May 7, 2012

You need to save the picture as bmp or jpg then upload it. Make sure it's the right file type.

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