Aircraftman First Class Kenneth Sidney George Nice
After a relatively quiet couple of weeks, the Luftwaffe launched a 700 bomber raid on London and the surrounding districts on the night of 16th April 1941. The effort was scattered, with some areas sustaining far more damage than others. On this one night alone, Croydon was hit by 115 bombs, Coulsdon 61, Carshalton 5, Beddington 4, Sutton and Cheam 3 and Banstead 4.
Rene Mouchotte, a Free French pilot stationed at Kenley with 615 Squadron recalled in his diary that:
We were not spared at Kenley. Habit, fortunately, saved me from insomnia, in spite of the bombs and the guns on the aerodrome.
He awoke to see a mass of smoke over London reflecting the sinister red light of London burning in stark contrast to the clear blue sky to the south of the aerodrome.
AC1 Kenneth Sidney George Nice was killed as a result of an enemy action at 10pm on this terrible night. He was born on 9th May 1920, in Woodbridge, Essex. His parents were Sidney Charles Nice, an ambulance driver (in 1939), and Elizabeth Ann Nice (nee Blake). The couple had four children – Clifford, Kenneth, Eileen and Maisie, who died in 1934, aged 5. Tragedy struck the family again the following year, when Elizabeth died.
Sidney re-married in 1937, to Mercy Harriet Mayhew, a shopkeeper. In 1939, the family was living at 93 Winnock Rd, Colchester and Kenneth was working as a lorry driver’s mate. He enlisted in the RAF at Uxbridge between September 1939 and June 1940 and was stationed at RAF Kenley at the time of his death.
Kenneth lies at rest in Colchester cemetery. The inscription on his grave reads:
“BRIGHT CROWNS THERE ARE LAID UP ON HIGH; FOR YOU AND ME… A CROWN OF VICTORY.”
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.