McKeag, Robert (No. 1522883)

McKeag, Robert

Sergeant (Air Gunner)

No. 1522883, 50 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Died on active service on Saturday 4 September 1943 (aged 21)

Buried:

Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin, Germany (Grave 7. J. 21)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Family grave headstone in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Comber

BIOGRAPHY

Robert McKeag’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1921 in Newtownards and he was a son of Robert and Agnes Catherine McKeag (nee Scott) who lived in Belfast.  Robert McKeag Senior worked as a plater’s helper in the shipyard and he and Agnes Scott were married on 11 May 1918 in Belfast Registrar’s Office.  Robert McKeag Junior’s paternal grandfather, Thomas McKeag was born in Comber and his paternal grandmother, Sarah McKeag was born in Bangor.

Before the outbreak of war in 1939 Robert McKeag Junior worked as a labourer in the Belfast Shipyard and during the Second World War, he served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.  When he died on 4 September 1943, he was one of a seven-man crew aboard an Avro Lancaster Mark III aircraft (ED755) that was on a mission to bomb Berlin.  They took off at 8.11 pm on 3 September 1943 from RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire and later crashed at Vielitz, 14 km east-northeast of Neuruppin in Germany.  All aboard were killed and they were buried near the crash site on 8 September.  Later their bodies were exhumed and reinterred in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery in Berlin.  The other six crew members who died that night were:

  • Flying Officer Percy Hornby Coates (aged 26) Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Sergeant George Banks Buchan (aged 29) from Tomatin, Inverness-shire
  • Flying Officer Jack Morgan Lauder Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Sergeant Rae Warren Buddy Collins Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Sergeant Reginald Gordon Cooper (aged 19) from Romford, Essex
  • Sergeant Anthony Richard Duncan Bedbrook

Sergeant Robert McKeag (No. 1522883) was 21 when he died and he was buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

AMIDST LIFE’S CHANGES

I’LL NEVER FORGET,

MY SON

Sergeant Robert McKeag (No. 1522883) is commemorated on the family grave headstone in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Comber.  His father Robert died on 10 June 1937 (aged 57) and his mother Agnes died on 7 January 1992.