Keith Willard Rainford from Canada to
"Den canadiske flyver" by Hans Henrik Bertram Larsen
Keith Willard Rainford was reported Missing in Action
after 15 February 1945.
Two newspaper cuttings from 1945 tell about the airman´s destiny seen from Vancouver, Canada:
— Flying Officer Keith Willard Rainford, son of' Mr. and Mrs. George Rainford,
FO. K. W. Rainford Buried in Denmark
Willard Rainford, 22, only son of Mr. and Mrs. George Rainford, 3436 West
Thirtyninth,' listed missing following mine laying operations near Denmark Feb.
15, is now reported killed on that date. His body was recovered from the sea on May
28 and he was buried in a Churchyard at Karlslunde, Denmark, May 31.
Sørensen, vicar at the Danish Church in Vancouver 1935-45 in December 1945 wrote
about his visit to Karlslunde:
were sent between the Rainfords in Canada and persons in Karlslunde. Mrs. Carla
Pedersen, the wife of bellringer and gravedigger Karl Pedersen, wrote this:
I have myself lost a brother in a strange Land in this War. I believe in Japan, we do riot know for sure as yet, he was sailing between Japan and America on regular service. He was 30 years old and I often think of him when I fix your Son´s Grave.
I am sending here a verse which was laid on his Grave a couple of days after the Funeral. I do not know from whom, a day it was raining and was nearly washed off but I copied it so you could have it, unless you have already received it from Mrs. Mikkelsen. (Text, see Poems to Keith Willard Rainford)
Rainford´s parents George Rainford and Marie Rainford visited Karlslunde in 1966.
Every day they went to Karlslunde Churchyard.
On Saturday 18 July 1998 the Rainfords attended the memorial service. 3 of Keith Rainford´s nephews, their wives and 8 children had come. The parochial church council had invited the congregation and people who had attended the funeral in 1945. Vicar Kirsten Senbergs was in charge of the memorial ceremony.
about the memorial service:
Greg H. Bristol, the son of
Shirley Kathrine Rainford-Bristol and the nephew of Keith Rainford spoke on
behalf of the family at the ceremony in the church, when the ashes of his mother
and her parents were interred in Karlslunde. This is what
Monday 20 July 1998, translated by KK:
At the ceremony which was carried out in Danish and English, Greg H. Bristol told about his family. Of his grandfather, who had Danish ancestors on Møn and who fought in the Canadian army during the First World War. Of the depression in the late 1920´s and about the entry into the Canadian army of his uncle Keith Rainford, when he was twenty years old. He told about letters from Keith Rainford to his family, among them Georg Sorensen Rainford, who was proud of his son´s entry into the Canadian army. In February the family were told that “uncle Keith was missing”, and later came the message that he had been buried on 31 May 1945 in Karlslunde, where among others local people from the resistance movement took part in the burial. Among the many persons present at the funeral then, shortly after the Liberation, was also Carla Petersen. Carla Petersen, who is now 88 years old, was married to the then sexton. Carla Petersen had been invited to the ceremony by the vestry.
In addition to Greg H. Bristol his wife, his two brothers, and the children of his three brothers, all residents of the USA, were present at the memorial ceremony. Several had come in order to pay the last honours to one of those who died for the allied powers.
In the church vicar Kirsten Senbergs read lessons from the New Testament, and three hymns were sung, which were all printed in English and Danish, as were the passages from the Bible.
Everybody went together to the airman´s grave where the ashes of the three departed members of his family were laid into the grave. The Lord´s Prayer was said, and like in 1945 also “Altid frejdig når du går” (=Always dauntless when you walk) was sung. Several of the congregation went up to the grave and put flowers on the covered grave.
After that the vestry hosted a lunch. Here the citizens of Karlslunde got the opportunity to tell the Americans of the discovery of the airman Keith Rainford in 1945 and the burial a short time afterwards. All in all this was a day when the participants strongly felt the course of history."