Soham Grammarians - Ken Gandy

Ely Standard, 24 October 2004

Tributes flow for 'quiet countryman'

The wife of an Ely man known for his love of shooting and the outdoors has paid tribute to her "quiet countryman". Ken Gandy, who ran a game dealing business in the city until he retired three years ago at the age of 77, died earlier this month in the Coronary Care Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in after a short illness.

Ken, 80, was born in Stuntney and grew up on farms in the area before returning to Ely 35 years ago with his wife Patricia. A love of shooting, which started at a young age, led him to set up a game dealing business from the couple's home in St Mary's Street in 1970. The business later moved to bigger premises in Downham Road. Ken was one of the founder members of the Ely District Wildfowlers' Association.

Patricia, 72, said: "Ken loved his shooting, something which he continued until the end. Shooting was his life and livelihood." She added: "He was a quiet countryman who had a love of poetry. He was a bit of philosopher. "He was a very easy going person- a very mild man. He never complained about anything."

Ken attended the Stuntney Village School before gaining a place at the Soham Grammar School. After leaving school, Ken became a clerk at the Mill Road Hospital in Cambridge. He joined the RAF as a gunner and during the Second World War was a rear gunner on a Stirling aircraft. Sixty years ago this month [actually May 1944 - see below] Ken's plane was shot down over France. All seven of the crew escaped uninjured but five were later captured [but see below]. Ken travelled through France with his pilot thanks to help from the French Resistance and was handed to the Americans before returning to England. After the war, Ken returned to France to work for the families who had helped him. He also spent time in Canada before returning to Nornea, near Ely.

After meeting Patricia, the couple lived in Soham and Kent before returning to Ely. Ken also leaves three children, Stuart, Rachel and James and three grandsons. More than 100 people attended his funeral at St Mary's Church last week.

7xXx90 by Charlie Potten, published in 1986 by Ken Gandy and Charlie Potten - in the preface Charlie says it is a "fairly light record of a group of seven airmen and their aircraft 'X' from 90 Squadron, 3 Group Bomber Command."  Hence the title.

from Bill Chorley's RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, volume for 1944

9-10 May 1944: 90 Sqn Stirling III EF509 XY-X Op: SOE

P/O D A Chapple RAAF evd
Sgt C E Potten evd
F/S P E Green evd
F/S W Hodgson RAAF pow
Sgt R J E Pask evd
Sgt A P Cochrane pow
Sgt K R Gandy evd

T/o 2156 Tuddenham on Operation Pimento and set course for France. Hit by light flak and crash-landed at Tinchebray.
Note. Bryce Gomersall advises that Sgt Potten was later to publish a book with the title 7xXx90 which tells the story of the crew from their forming at a Conversion Unit to August 1944. The Stirling in which he made the above sortie had flown a commendable 41 operational sorties, first as WP-Q and then with the combination shown in this summary.

With thanks to the author Oliver Clutton-Brock, who adds that Ken was back in England on 18 August 1944.

link: RAF Escaping Society 1945-95

If you can add recollections of Ken please contact the Soham Grammarians website editor Frank Haslam.
page last updated 7 Jan 2008