Nelson, Ronald (No. 1515342)

Nelson, Ronald (Ronnie)

Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber)

No. 1515342, 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Wednesday 28 June 1944 (aged 21)


Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, Seine-Maritime, France

(Collective Grave M 8-13)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Regent House School Newtownards

Queen’s University Belfast Second World War Memorial Plaque


The death of Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) Ronald Nelson (No. 1515342) was reported in the 13 January 1945 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Former Regent House Boy Killed.  It was reported that he was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs J.A. Nelson of 8 Rathkain, Dundonald.  Previously reported missing, it was officially confirmed that he had been killed.

Ronald Nelson was born on 6 December 1922 and he was a grandson of James Aiken Nelson and Emma Nelson (nee Millen).  He was a son of James Andrew and Kathleen M. Nelson (nee Holmes) of Alnwick, Comber Road, Dundonald.  James Andrew Nelson was a draughtsman and he and Kathleen Holmes were married on 26 December 1921 in Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

Ronnie Nelson attended Dundonald Public Elementary School and then Regent House School, Newtownards from 2 September 1935 until 27 June 1940.  When he left school, he went to Queen’s University, Belfast to study commerce.

During the Second World War Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) Ronald Nelson (No. 1515342) served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and he died on 28 June 1944.  He was one of a crew of seven aboard an Avro Lancaster Mark I aircraft (LL974) that took off at 10.55 pm from RAF Metheringham in Lincolnshire on a mission to bomb rail facilities at Vitry-le-Francois.  The aircraft was shot down by a German night fighter and crashed at Thibie (Marne), west-south-west of Chalons-sur-Marne.  All aboard the aircraft died and were buried locally but later exhumed and reinterred in Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery.  The other six crew members who died that night were:

  • Flight Sergeant Ernest Clive Fox (aged 29) from Hailey, Oxfordshire
  • Sergeant C. Henry Southworth (aged 20) from Wigan, Lancashire
  • Flight Sergeant Arthur Cornelius Croft (aged 25) from London
  • Sergeant Jack Desmond Pepper (aged 19) from Darlington, Durham
  • Flight Sergeant Melvin Harold Stoner (aged 20) Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Pilot Officer Arthur Evans Cosdett Thomas (aged 21) Royal Canadian Air Force

Flight Sergeant (Air Bomber) Ronald Nelson (No. 1515342) was 21 when he died, and he is commemorated in Regent House School and on the Queen’s University Second World War Memorial Plaque.  There is a personal inscription on his CWGC headstone: