RELATIVES are being sought of a Northallerton man shot down on a night-time bombing mission over Belgium during the Second World War.

Bernard Touzel was born in Northallerton in 1912. He attended the Grammar School and became a clerk with the North Riding County Council at Northallerton.

In September 1939 he married Joan Broadwith of Thirsk. Volunteering for the RAF in 1940 Bernard was accepted for aircrew training and qualified as an Air Observer, later navigator and posted to No 166 Wellington Squadron based at Kirmington in Lincolnshire.

On the night of June 24, 1943 as part of a force of 630 aircraft consisting of 251 Lancasters, 171 Halifaxes, 101 Wellingtons, 98 Stirlings and 9 Mosquitoes they attacked Wuppertal in the Rhur. During the raid 34 aircraft from the bombing force were shot down by nightfighters. Bernard’s Wellington was one of those lost and he and the entire crew were killed. Bernard Touzel was buried in Brussels Military Cemetery at St. Evere. He also is remembered in the Central Church of the Royal Air Force St Clement Danes London, the Romanby War Memorial, the Grammar School Memorial Plaque, the All Saints Parish Church Memorial and the NALGO Memorial in County Hall. He was 31.

A Belgian aircraft recovery group has now located his Wellington and has been in contact with Northallerton historian and author Tony Eaton in an attempt to locate any relatives.

Mr Eaton said: “The Belgian group are searching for any of Bernard’s family members in order to offer them the chance to visit the site. It is known that he had a daughter named Valerie who was born in 1941 and she is thought to have married in 1962 and had two children.”

Anyone with further information is asked to contact Mr Eaton on 01609 774439 or