Spitfire tribute for late father of comedy actress Hattie Jacques

John Jacques, grandson of Robin Jaques and nephew of comedy actress Hattie Jacques, next to his grandfather's headstone in Grantham Cemetery
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John Jacques, grandson of Robin Jaques and nephew of comedy actress Hattie Jacques, next to his grandfather's headstone in Grantham Cemetery TRP-13-8-2016-941A (1) EMN-160816-142654001
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A Spitfire flew over Grantham on Saturday to honour the memory of the father of iconic comedy actress Hattie Jacques.

Flying Officer Robin Jaques - his daughter changed the spelling of her surname when she appeared on stage and screen - was killed in an RAF aircraft accident near Old Somerby in August 1923.

A Spitfire flies over Grantham Cemetery in tribute to Flying Office Robin Jaques, who was killed in an air crash near Old Somerby in 1923
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A Spitfire flies over Grantham Cemetery in tribute to Flying Office Robin Jaques, who was killed in an air crash near Old Somerby in 1923 TRP-13-8-2016-941A (13) EMN-160816-142705001

His grave was previously unmarked at Grantham Cemetery until a headstone was erected there last year and a service of dedication was held.

Lincolnshire Family History Society had organised a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast then but technical difficulties meant it was abandoned at the last minute.

And it was an emotional moment on Saturday when the flypast finally happened at 1.30pm as society members and dignataries gathered in the cemetery with Robin’s grandson, John.

Society member Peter Reichelt, who co-ordinated the event, said: “It was quite a moment when the Spitfire went over - John just looked up and said ‘wow, that’s wonderful’.

Hattie Jacques' nephew, John, members of the Lincolnshire Family History Society and local dignatories gather at Grantham Cemetery for Saturday's Spitfire flypast for Robin Jaques.
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Hattie Jacques' nephew, John, members of the Lincolnshire Family History Society and local dignatories gather at Grantham Cemetery for Saturday's Spitfire flypast for Robin Jaques. PHOTO TRP-13-8-2016-941A (2) EMN-160816-142640001

“He didn’t know much about his father and the accident so he went away really pleased that we had done this.”

Robin, who had served with the Army in the First World War, crashed in an Avro 504 biplane shortly after take-off from RAF Spitalgate in Grantham. He was buried in the town just two days later.

At the time of the accident, Robin lived with his wife Adelaide in Newton, near Bingham, off the A52.

The couple had two young children - a son also called Robin and a daughter, Josephine, who became one of the nation’s best loved actresses using the stage name Hattie Jacques. She died in 1980.

Hattie found fame as a cast member of the popular Carry On series of films and a sitcom with Eric Sykes.

Her brother was a talented illustrator and had his work published in several novels and children’s books.

Mr Reichelt added: “I have done a lot of research into Robin’s life and he was also a talented footballer who almost signed for Fulham.

“He was born in Newcastle but he spent a lot of his life in Grantham. He was really a Granthamian and it is important that we remember him in this way.”

John (68), who is Hattie’s nephew, attended the flypast event with his wife Sally. Also present were Mayor of Grantham, Linda Wootten, her councillor husband Ray and South Kesteven District Council vice-chairman Jacky Smith.