Sgt. C. Risingham

Sgt. C. Risingham

1095177 Sergeant Charles Risingham,
Navigator, 429 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron,
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Nook Road, Scholes (Chris Heaton / Nook Road, Arthursdale)

Charles Risingham was the second of four children born to the marriage of Charles Adam Pigg-Risingham and Evelyn (nee Milburn). The other children were; Kathleen (b. 1916), Evelyn (b. 1923 – d. 1930), and George (b. 1926). Evelyn Milburn was from Hexham in Northumberland, and it was there that she married Charles Pigg-Risingham in 1915. Thereafter, Charles dropped the use of Pigg as part of his surname and reverted to Risingham on its own. Charles was a journalist and up until 1914 he had been living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in Canada. When war broke out in 1914 Charles Risingham sailed to Liverpool from New York on a ship of the American line called New York. Charles enlisted into the British Army and served in the London Regiment (28th and 8th Battalions).

Eventually the Risingham family came to live in Scholes where they had an address at 18 Nook Road.

Map showing the site of RAF East Moor (National Library of Scotland)

The squadron Charles Risingham served with was predominantly manned by officers and airmen of the RCAF, hence its subtitle. It may be that due to his Canadian connection, that Charles Risingham applied to serve with it; however this is yet to be established. What is known, from squadron records is that while it was based at RAF East Moor between York and Easingwold, local people offered their hospitality to the Canadian personnel in the squadron as a reciprocal gesture of thanks for the kindness shown to local airmen who had gone to Canada for their aircrew training.

Sgt Charles Risingham was flying as navigator in a Mark III Wellington Bomber, BE432 on a mine-laying mission to the Terschelling sector of the Dutch coast when the aircraft was lost. Squadron records state that nothing was heard from the crew after take-off, but it is known that they reached the target area as the bodies of three of the five crew members are buried in cemeteries and a churchyard in the area where the mines were intended to be laid.

Grave of Charles Risingham

One aircraft on the mission reported being fired on by a flak ship and another reported seeing open parachutes (number unstated) and a red very signal flare being fired, so it seems reasonable to assume that Sergeant Risingham’s aircraft was hit by flak and those members of the crew who were able baled out into the sea. Two men of the crew were either not recovered, or their bodies could not be identified and they are now commemorated on the Runnymeade Memorial at Egham in Surrey. Of the three men who could be identified, two are buried on either shore of the Waddenzee, while the third is buried some 90 km away along the coast.

Sergeant Risingham was a member of the first crew from 429 (Bison) Squadron to be lost on operations. He is buried in Barradeel (Pietersbierum) Protestant Churchyard, Friesland, Netherlands.