Councillor traces family of US Airman killed in Wirral for 'Freedom of the Borough'

The family of a US airman killed in action over Saughall Massie during World War II have been traced by local councillor, Chris Blakeley.  

Councillor Chris Blakeley has nominated US Army Air Force Pilot (USAAF) 2nd Lieutenant Jay Frederick Simpson for a posthumous award of the Freedom of the Borough of Wirral and was keen for members of Lieutenant Simpson’s family to be informed.  

Lieutenant Simpson was test flying a Republic Thunderbolt P-47 which had taken off from Burtonwood and flew out to sea.  On returning, he reported that the plane was on fire over Hoylake as circled over the RAF camp West Kirby.  The plane lost height and flipped over before crashing into farmland at Saughall Massie.

Eyewitness reports at the time said the pilot steered away from residential areas before his plane crashed in a field close to the Arrowe Brook, thereby ensuring lives were saved.  

Pieces of the wreckage were dug up in 1974 and were on show at the War Plane Wreck Investigation Group at Fort Perch Rock. Lieutenant Simpson’s Gold Class Signet Ring was found in the wreckage and was presented to his cousin, Rose Neil Godfrey who gave it to the Krause Simpson Legion Post in his home town of Gillett Wisconsin.  Sadly the ring was later stolen

Councillor Blakeley said: “Having nominated Lieutenant Simpson to posthumously receive the Freedom of the Borough, I have now traced his grandson, Pastor Jay Simpson who lives in Pryor, Montana and his eldest great grandchildren, Lachelle and James Simpson who both live in Billings, Montana.  

“Lieutenant Simpson’s family will be watching the Council meeting on 14 October via webcast as we vote to award Lieutenant Simpson the Freedom of the Borough of Wirral and a representative from the US Embassy has also been invited to attend.”