The Wedding of
Sgt. Henry Albert Toomey,
Click on images below to enlarge
On the 14th April 1943 in St. Stephens church, Lewisham, Kent, Henry married Beryl Elsie Buck and so became the only married crew member of Lancaster ED627.
Sadly as in many marriages in wartime it was not to last and just four months later, Beryl became a war widow when Henry died with the rest of the crew when ED627 was shot down over Germany on 28th August 1943.
Beryl however later in the future, married for the second time and it was to a family friend named Jack Hilder and through this union they had a son named John.
John contacted me in April 2007 and has since supplied me with and given me permission to use the photographs and documents that you will find in this section on Sgt Henry Toomey.
Two of the many congratulatory telegrams of many are shown below and the one from a relative is addressed to Henry at RAF Saltby for his forthcoming marriage and the other on their marriage from Jack Hilder who later was to become Beryl's second husband.
RAF Saltby at this time was the home of the 14 Operational Training Unit (OTU) and I believe that this is the time when the crew were training on Wellington bombers.
It should be noticed that there seems to no congratulatory messages from his crew members or any other RAF personnel but these may have been lost with time.
The 24th August 1943 was Beryl's 23rd birthday and she received the three telegrams that are shown below.
One was from Henry to his "darling" wife and another from 'Jack' Hilder? and the third one from relative's Aunty, Uncle & Pam?
Little did anyone know that just four days later after Beryl received the telegram from her husband she was going to be widowed.
Harry's telegram Relative's telegram Jack's telegram
Halesworth Road, Lewisham, Kent
Home of Henry and Beryl
Click to enlarge
Photo.... Google Earth
Below is part of an email sent to me by John Hilder the son of Beryl and Jack and shows Jack's great understanding of Beryl and the tragic loss of her first husband Henry who was also Jack's friend
"My Mum died 3 years ago, which was a relief because she was in such pain and she had Harry's photo and their wedding photo's by her bed, all through the last years when she was widowed 30 years ago (again) along with my own Dad's of course. I never resented her continued love for Harry as it was so tragic, and my Dad was always supportive to her sad memories, if anything I think he was just there at the right time after Harry was killed, I don't think she ever 'fell in love' with my Dad, but they were good for each other.
Her long long illness was in part due to the stress's she had as a young woman, boarding school, her Dad dying when she was 8, but happiness at last when she married Harry. They were married only 3 or 4 months before he died and as he was at war she saw hardly anything of him. Her tears carried on throughout her life, and I learnt quite a lot about him. Mum always kept in touch with Harry's Mum, (Mrs Toomey), in Earls Court, letters exchanged sometimes, but I don't think they are around anymore.
I admit to having a sob last night when I saw the website, because you were dead right, Mum would have loved to have seen it"
God, didn't I try to make contact with the Toomey family and in the end I thought I would never find them. I did, simply because I set this website up and searches by Toomey family members found me, a family because of the only home address I had for Henry's parents was in London and I found it virtually impossible to find anyone or any organisations to ask for help in my search.
However, John's email above brings a tear to my eye because I wish and I do wish, that John's mother Beryl could have seen the page on her husband Harry before she passed away as the website was set up a long time before she died.