George Valentine was born in April, 1921 in West Derby, Lancashire. He was the son of John and Ellen Valentine (née Speakman) and was married to Irene Margaret Valentine (née Houlton).
His father, John Valentine lived his whole life in Lancashire and was a domestic gardener. George had three older brothers, Joseph, William and John. His mother, Ellen Speakman was 45 years old when she passed away on 8th June 1924, when George was only 3.
George married Irene Margaret Houlton, in Liverpool in June, 1943 when they were both 22 years old.
George Valentine served in the Royal Air Force as an officer pilot, 54979.
It is believed that he was sent to Tulsa, USA for flight training, to then serve as a pilot sergeant across North Africa and Palestine amongst other places.
In 1944 he joined 31 Squadron SAAF as a pilot officer. 31 Squadron was initially a World War II Coastal bomber/reconnaissance squadron of the South African Air Force. It was later converted to a heavy bomber squadron that operated from bases in the Mediterranean from January 1944 until the end of the war.
Death and Burial
Below is a detailed record of events taken on 30th September, 1944.
“During the period of inaction a number of re-inforcement crews all R.A.F., had arrived at the Squadron and it was with great relief that the weather broke sufficiently to permit operations and so sent these crews on their first operation with the squadron.
Of the six aircraft detailed three were flewn by new air crews, weather conditions at base were not good but by 18.00 hours all aircraft were airbourne to carry out the much postponed attack on the pontoon bridge at SAN BENEDETTO at 21:29 a message was received that a Liberator had crashed at SAN SEVERO. On checking number of the dash panel recovered it was ascertained that the aircraft was “Q” flewn by P/O. Valentine, he and his entire crew being killed. The remainder of the aircraft found the weather over target clear the bridge well marked and illuminated, ground defences were slight and a good concentration of bombs were reported in the target area.
(Appendices AT1, AL and AJ)
Subsequent investigation of the scene of the crash and identification of the bodies established the identity of the aircraft and crew. As far as can be assertained from conflicting ground reports and investigations of the remains of the aircraft, parts of which were scattered a half mile and the aircraft broke up in the air presumably due to the turbulence of the cumulo nimbus cloud through which the heavy loaded aircraft had flown.”
George Valentine died at the crash site on 30th September, 1944.
Bari War Cemetery
Bari, Città Metropolitana di Bari, Puglia, Italy
X. A. 4.
George Valentine is not survived by any direct descendants.
Irene later married Bruce Donovan Coward in 1947. They both have since passed away in Taunton, Somerset.
If you are related to him in any way or have any information you would like to share with us, please contact us directly or feel free to comment below.
*AT THE TIME OF WRITING, NO OBVIOUS CONNECTION HAS BEEN MADE BETWEEN GEORGE VALENTINE AND HOW HE CAME TO APPEAR ON THE BISHOPSTEIGNTON WWII MEMORIAL. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER DETAILS.*
George Valentine is remembered by the village of Bishopsteignton.
References and credits
Author – Nathan Hutchinson
Photo credit :
B&W Portraits – holyandrory (Ancestry)
Headstone – DCB (findagrave)
3. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8410669 (Document available for £3.50)