A WAR memorial preservation group is searching for the relatives of a Purbeck pilot who was killed in the Battle of Britain.

Flying officer Michael Homer DFC, of 242 Squadron, which was led by flying ace Douglas Bader, was just 21 when he was shot down by a German fighter plane over Sittingbourne, in Kent, in 1940.

His badly damaged Hurricane, which was based with the rest of the squadron in Duxford, crashed into the garden of a small cottage in the village of Milstead on September 27.

FO Homer's remains were taken from the wreck and buried in Godlingston Cemetery, in Swanage, and his family planted a tree and mounted a plaque in his memory at the crash site.

After 60 years the memorial has deteriorated and now the War Memorial Trust is searching for FO Homer's relatives to seek their permission to restore the monument.

Volunteer John Rowe said: "Before we can do anything we need to speak to the family because the plaque is owned by them.

"Now we are trying to establish whether there is any family we can consult with because we need their authority.

"If there is no family we can go back to Milstead Parish Council and do something about it.

"This is an important historical monument, which was very important to the family at one point and we want to do everything we can to preserve it."

Mr Rowe told how his records show FO Homer's parent were called George and Millicent Homer.

If anyone has any information they can contact Mr Rowe on 01795 421446 or write to him at 46 Crossways, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4RJ or e-mail him on w.rowe1@btinternet.com.

FO Homer's brother, Group Capt John Homer, has a memorial stone in Godlingston Cemetery.

He was killed in an air accident in 1944 and was buried in Karachi.