AFTER learning that the family of a WW2 pilot from Westbury had been found following an appeal launched by the Ministry of Defence, an artist has decided to paint a portrait of him to honour his life.

Helen Chester, who works from a studio in her back garden in Westbury, read that the family of Kenneth Chapman had been found and contacted them to ask if they would like a portrait of the pilot.

Mrs Chester, of Ludlow Close, said: “I discovered about Kenneth Chapman when my dad came round to my house with the article explaining that his family had been found and I thought it was such a lovely story.

“I got in touch with Alison, Kenneth's second cousin, to ask if she would like me to paint a portrait of him and she was very keen.

“It was so nice chatting to her about Kenneth and learning about his life, and I hope to get more information from her before I start painting, which I will then feature in the portrait.

"I painted a portrait of my great grandfather about two years ago which is how my foray into military-based work began.

“Since then I have been dealing with WW1 and have done portraits for Victoria Cross and The Everyday Tommy, which is a collection of men and women from Wiltshire who were killed in WW1.

"The strange thing about all of this is that my grandfather used to be Kenneth's neighbour many years ago. It's a crazy coincidence."

Mrs Chester, who has a degree in fine art and has worked in art restoration, plans to start work on the portrait in the next few weeks.

Relatives of Flt Sgt Chapman who were found after the appeal, including his nephew Kenneth Davis and second cousin Alison Calderan, attended his burial service in Berlin on April 28.

Lancaster JB 640, which Flt Sgt Chapman was on, was lost on the night of January 2 1944 on a sortie to Berlin.

The Germans later reported via the Red Cross that two of the crew and five unknown people had died, but no burial details were provided.

Nicola Nash, of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), who launched the appeal, said: “We’re delighted that after so long we are able to finally give the crew headstones at their final resting places and that so many family members were able to attend.”

To find out more about Helen Chester's work, visit: