Ever since Harrow paid tribute to its fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day, the Observer has been inundated with tributes from families and friends of those killed in the Second World War.

One of these is Wealdstone's Royal Air Force Volunteer Derry Peach.

The 20-year-old was shot down along with six others as they flew over Someren-Dorp in Holland in May 1944.

The crew are believed to have been taken down by notorious German pilot Heinz Schnaufer, known by the British bomber crews as the 'Night ghost'.

All the crew members died in the attack and the wreck of the aircraft was immediately guarded by German soldiers.

It wasn't until some weeks after that a working party from Twente cleared the site.

Months before the fateful day on May 25, Derry had written his final letter to his mother

Hylda Peach - to tell her not to have nightmares about him because her 'little son was doing fine, bombing the hell out of the Nazi war effort'.

And it wasn't just Derry Peach doing his bit for the war effort, as his brother Gary fondly remembers.

He said: "All the crews consisted of men from throughout the Commonwealth. Two Australians and a Canadian died with my brother, and they lived and fought like brothers.

"Our house was often a refuge for men from a foreign place. A scared Austrian Jew, who had his forehead slashed by gramophone records thrown at him by brownshirts as he scrubbed the streets on hands and knees. A Canadian navigator, shot down in his Boston in the Bay of Biscay, staying with us to recuperate, sharing my bed.

"There were Americans, Poles, men returned from the Japanese POW camps, anyone that needed a taste of home, a game of cards and some good cheer.

"A man can do no more than make the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs and country.

"The death of an Airman is no more glamorous or less terrible than the death of others that died prematurely as a result of hostilities.

"I believe that most of them thought that they were dying whilst making a contribution to an improved world."

Derry was educated at Whitefriars School in Whitefriars Avenue, Wealdstone, and Willesden Technical College, before being employed first by Powell's Glass Works, and then in a reserved occupation with Kodak.

Encouraged by posters asking for recruits he signed up for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), in order to improve the world for his younger brother, Gary.

The Lancaster bomber in which he was flying had some electronic warning devices against enemy fighter aircraft, but unfortunately for the crew of that night the German technicians had changed the frequency of the radar fitted to their night fighters, and they were not detected by the Lancaster's equipment.

He was just one of many Harrovians killed in the Second World War and remembered on Armistice Day earlier this month.

Last words home

The following is the last letter Derry's family received from him:

Dear Mother,

I just thought I'd drop you a line to tell you I am OK.

Did you hear the news today? R.A.F Machines went to Le Mans last night, some of them brought their bombs back instead of dropping them on our friends the French. Due to Clouds. Well that was FO McKay and Crew. Well dear that was our 4th Op. We've been to Nantes, Courtrai, Louvain, and last night Le Mans. I'm waiting till we can go to Berlin.

How is everybody at home, all OK I hope. By the way don't you go having nightmares about me. You've probably been eating cheese for supper.

Your Little Son is doing fine - bombing the hell out of the Nazi War Effort so don't you worry dear will you.

I don't know when my next leave will be, it should be in about six weeks time providing the 2nd Front doesn't start then we never know what may happen.

I suppose we will be doing shift work then. Well mother dear how's the Russian going. I haven't sent anything for a long time so here goes.

Palsty eez zady za Paslye which means "finger out of behind" in other words pull your finger out.

I'll write out the alphabet again if you like on a piece of paper Well dear I better close now.

Your Ever loving Son Derry

Seya vasi as drovye

The best of health to you.