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Ex-Lancaster bomber pilot suffers Second World War medal snub
A SECOND World War hero, who risked his life flying bombing missions over Nazi Germany, has been told that he doesn’t qualify for a Bomber Command Clasp.
The Ministry of Defence says William Rigby is not eligible for the clasp because he did not amass 60 days flying with the command unit before the war was declared over.
However, the 87-year-old from Rainford, who was a flight engineer, flew in Lancaster bombers over Flensburg and Cham in Germany and Pilsen in Czechoslovakia between March and May in 1945.
He had signed up aged just 19, eager to do his bit.
The unassuming pensioner, who has had two hip operations and a quadruple heart by-pass, said: “I applied for it six months ago when it was announced. I suppose it’s some sort of recognition.
“I volunteered, along with all the crew and flew in Lancasters on bombing missions. I had just turned 19.
“I do have two other medals and there was no argument about them, but I’m ineligible for this little clasp.
After spending four years in the armed forces, Mr Rigby, who is originally from Toll Bar, worked for 21 years at Ford car factory.
The Ministry of Defence said the clasp is awarded to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served at least 60 days from September 3, 1939, to May 8, 1945.
Mr Rigby’s daughter Linda Hunter, 56, added: “When he applied for the clasp the Government said even though he was on three bombing operations, because he didn’t do 60 days before the end of the War, he couldn’t have it. The Ministry of Defence says there’s nothing it can do.”
Mr Rigby added: “It’s a little frustrating but I’m not angry.”
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