Raphael Finklestone-Sayliss

Sergeant, 500 Squadron
Service number 1067676
Died 17 Sep 1942
Commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Age 27


Raphael (known as Ralph) was born in 1913 in Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire West Riding to Saul, a naturalised British citizen from Ponevezh in Lithuania, and Leah Cohen who was born in Leeds. Ralph was the youngest of seven children. The family lived in Sheffield where Saul was the headmaster of a Hebrew school.

Ralph attended the Central School, Leopold Street in Sheffield and on leaving school he joined Cantor’s Furniture Store in Doncaster where he worked as the manager. Ralph’s nephew recalls: ‘I remember him as well as any little boy can now 90 years old, he came on holiday with us in the 1930’s and was with us sat on the cellar steps during an air raid at the beginning of the war before he had joined up.’

On 17 September 1942 the four crew of Hudson AM587 died when the aircraft was shot down at 15.37 by Lt K Necesany of 13./KG40 over the Bay of Biscay in position PLQ 14W/8933. Two crew were seen in the water but were unable to be rescued. The crew were:

Pilot, F/S D. B. Smith.
Observer, Sgt R. Finklestone-Sayliss
W/Op, Sgt A. Young
W/Op, Sgt R. J. Wilson