Colnbrook war hero dies before salvage wish fulfilled
Colnbrook war veteran Derek Martin has sadly died before the salvage operation – to retrieve the flying boat he flew in the war – was completed.
The Mirror and the Daily Mail broke the news this week that Wing Commander Derek Martin OBE, who lived in Colnbrook most of his life, had died aged 93.
The heroic RAF pilot who helped defend Britain during the Second World War was helping to raise the only known Sunderland flying-boat from the ocean near Pembroke, Vales. He was the last person to fly the Sunderland aircraft before it sank during a fierce storm at the dock where it was based.
He died before he was able to see his flying boat raised from the sea where it sank in 1940.
After he helped historians identify the plane, they started to bring it up from the seabed – but the job was not finished by the time Mr Martin died last month.
He was an instructor at a training unit based in Pembroke Dock, West Wales when he last flew the Sunderland bomber in 1940 as part of his duties training young airmen.
Mr Martin later joined 210 Squadron in Oban, and was badly injured in a crash in 1941.
He was treated by the renowned plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe and became a member of the exclusive ‘Guinea Pig Club’, formed of patients who had undergone experimental procedures.
In 1943, Mr Martin returned to flying duties at Pembroke Dock and after the war remained in the RAF for some years, eventually settling in Colnbrook with his wife Betty.
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