Man travels across Atlantic to honor East Texas WWII hero - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Man travels across Atlantic to honor East Texas WWII hero

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SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) -

Two families separated by the Atlantic Ocean have found a common link dating back 70 years.

England native Trevor Hewitt is making it his mission to remember the lives of the men that fought bravely in World War II, including an East Texan. For the past week Hewitt and Linda Kilcrease of San Augustine have exchanged cultures.

"Where we drink coffee, they drink tea,” Kilcrease said.

"Going to the supermarket and seeing guns on sale,” Hewitt said. “That's really strange.”

They have also bonded after an accident that happened 70 years ago. Kilcrease's brother, Lt. Paul Kingsley was serving in England during WWII as a bomber pilot. On May 8, 1944, Kingsley took off on a mission in the Belle of Boston.

"It wasn't a plane that they regularly flew,” Hewitt said. “It was one they were given to fly that day because their regular one which was called ‘I'll Be Back’, was unserviceable. It was just bad luck that it crashed shortly after takeoff."

The crash site was near Hewitt's grandfather's home.

"He helped rescue several men,” Hewitt said. “Unfortunately they were not able to save the life of Lt. Kingsley."

Sixty-two years after the crash, Hewitt and his small village of Frettenham dedicated a memorial and museum to the bomber squadron.

"Everybody chipped in, so it speaks to the village at being able to get it put together,” Hewitt said.

Kilcrease was a newborn when her brother left for England so six years ago, she made a trip over to see the crash site. Soon after the visit, Hewitt would find more wreckage including a special bracelet given to Kingsley by his wife.

"I really feel closer to him by going to England and Trevor coming over here,” Kilcrease said. “I learned he is really real and not just a fictional character."

Hewitt has made it his mission to return artifacts to the families of the fallen soldiers.

"It gives closure because a lot of the families never really knew what happened that day,” Hewitt said.

Kilcrease said Hewitt's mission has also formed an everlasting friendship.

"I would love to go back. It would be nice to go back and visit him over there,” Kilcrease said.

To learn more about Kingsley’s mission, click here.

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