|Unknown Airmans grave? or is it?||Nick,
The key evidence you seek should be found in the brief "Graves Concentration Report" written by the graves registration unit which exhumed the airmen's remains for reburial in the war cemetery. The problem is that even if the CWGC admits to having this report, they probably won't let you know of its content...without you putting up a stink, that is. BUT IT IS POSSIBLE.
I lucked out in a very similar case, after a protracted battle. In 1993 at Rangoon War Cemetery a fellow traveler, by pure coincidence, happened upon 7 graves in a row, each identified as "An Airman of the 1939-1945 War, Royal Air Force, 29th February 1944, Known Unto God". My mom's first husband, Sgt George Plank, was one of 12 missing 159 Squadron Liberator airmen who had been shot down on that leap year night (Liberators BZ926 and BZ962), so I suspected that these graves very well might be 7 of the 12, if not 7 of the 9 missing men from BZ962, George's Lib. Officially these 12 men were missing, and each bomber's wreckage had never been located.
I wrote to the CWGC. I was told that they had no records whatsoever which could prove any connection between the 7 "unknowns" and the 159 Squadron missing from 29 Feb '44.
Armed with more evidence, I tried again five years later, and this time the Director-General (no longer with the CWGC) claimed that a Graves Concentration Report (GCR) for BZ962 crew remains had just been located. It identified the map grid coordinates and village names for the two locations, about 1700 yards apart, where local villagers had buried 7 crewmen from BZ962 after their 29 Feb '44 shootdown. The direct link to BZ962 was made. But the Director-General said he couldn't provide a copy of the report, or more details.
I persisted. He provided more details but said he was bound by MoD guidelines and couldn't release more. I pestered him again, and he provided another tidbit. But that was it, he said, bound, as he was, by MoD guidelines.
I called upon an influential contact, a then-active Air Chief Marshal who has since retired. He used his influence to cut through the red tape like butter, and in no time I was sent a photocopy of the actual GCR! It contained some further valuable evidence that the CWGC had chosen to withhold from me.
My sincere apologies, but I think I must keep the ACM's name out of this, as it was a huge personal favor to me from an extremely busy man, and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to mention him by name.
However, if this approach worked for me, perhaps it will work for you. I recommend not just contacting your MP, but finding senior RAF or RCAF officers who might have some influence in winning the release of this most basic information. Maybe someone reading this can put you in touch with a high-ranking officer, active or retired??
As usual, this game that the UK plays with its secrecy is absurd. I know that many GCRs for Australian prisoners on the Burma-Siam Death Railway w ....Read More.||Matt Poole on 17th March 2008 02:33:20|