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James Doyle was born on 6 January 1921 in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He shared a birthday with his father, Joseph. He was the second son of Joseph and Allison Doyle. An elder son, Joseph, and an older sister Christina (Chrissie) were followed in due course by four more girls, Mary, Cecilia Alison and Margaret. The family later moved to Partick Street in Coatbridge and during World War II they moved again to 23 Blairpark Avenue, Coatbridge which remained the family home until the early 1960’s.

James joined 166 Squadron on 13 April 1945. On the 4th and 7th May James flew on food dropping operations. Victory in Europe (VE Day) was declared when Germany unconditionally surrendered on 8 May 1945. Following the surrender, James carried out repatriation flights to bring prisoners of war back from Germany. On 3rd July, while on a training mission, the Lancaster Bomber he was on dived into the Bristol Channel and all 7 crew members were killed. Attached RAF letters refer.  

While on flying missions over the Netherlands James dropped handkerchief parachutes with bars of chocolate attached for Dutch children. Handwritten notes are accompanying these dropped are attached. In 1986, Mr van Baggum contacted the RAF in an effort to obtain details of James as he had been the recipient of some chocolate bars and wished to express his gratitude. He was not aware that James had been killed. He did, however, manage to make contact with the family in Coatbridge and they arranged to meet. The letters and photographs attached record this emotional event.

James was smart and funny as evidenced by his writings and photographs. He had visions of becoming a writer when he left the RAF. It was not to be and he made the ultimate sacrifice at the young age of 24.


James Doyle is remembered on the RAF memorial at Runnymede.      



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