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With Sincere Gratitude and Respect, We Say Thank You.

With Sincere Gratitude and Respect, We Say Thank You.

The bitter-sweet legacy left by the battles and wars of the 20th Century continue to captivate the minds and squeeze the hearts to those of us who live and benefit from the heavy price paid for our freedom.

Earlier this year we received a surprise package of medals – one of which carried a genuine Battle of Britain Clasp.  The gift was a donation of family treasure given in the hope it would allow CrossReach to invest in the lives of the Children and Families we support.

Following consultation with collectibles expert Robert Murray, it was agreed we would put these medals, which had never been mounted for wearing and still in their original box, to auction.

Mr Murray took time to research their story.

The 1939 – 1945 Star with Battle of Britain clasp, Air Crew Europe Star and War Medal 1939 – 45 had been sent in 1951 to Agnes, the mother of Sergeant Pilot John Wright of 79 Squadron.

Having joined the RAF in 1935 at the age of around 19 years, John had accomplished the training which qualified him to pilot Hawker Hurricane aircraft.

He saw service in North East England, including the shared destruction of an He.111 before his squadron was moved to Biggin Hill in London.

On the 4th of September 1940 he took to the skies for what would turn out to be his final flight.  A Bf110 hit his aircraft.  Injured and thought to be disorientated by the assault, Sergeant Wright continued to fly his damaged aircraft for a few more miles.  Having spotted a playing field, he sought to land until he noticed children playing on it.  Having aborted the landing attempt he finally crashed into a household garage in Surbiton.

Barely surviving the disastrous landing, he was removed from the wreckage and taken to hospital, where he died the next day.

Tragically, Agnes was all too familiar with the heart wrenching impact of war.  John’s father, Robert Wright of the Northumberland Fusiliers was lost to the Great War on 28 April 1917, near Arras. 

She did marry again and as we understand it passed away on 4th September 1960, exactly 20 years from the day her precious John’s aircraft crashed.

Both her husbands received WW1 standard pairs of medals and together with the prized medals awarded to John, these were auctioned on 28 August 2017 and raised £3,400 (before commission).

The bravery of three men, two of whom paid the ultimate price, and the generosity of the generations who came after them have given real hope to the children and adults of families that come to CrossReach for support.

To say thank you seems infinitely inadequate but it’s all we have – so from the depths of the heart of CrossReach, we write this by way of our sincere gratitude and respect.

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**Aircraft image courtesy of Asisbiz.com



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Charis House, 47 Milton Road East, Edinburgh, EH15 2SR
Tel: 0131 657 2000 Email: info@crossreach.org.uk