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Flight Sergeant David NELSON (533351) of the Royal Air Force


Circumstances of Death: Lost in aircraft Liberator BZ951
 Forum Post

Death of Death 1944-02-23 Age : 26 years.

Served in 1673 HCU

Burial/Commemoration Details : Column 435. at Singapore Memorial, Singapore

More Details: SON OF HUGH AND NANCY NELSON, OF BALLYHAMPTON, LARNE, CO. ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND.

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Aircraft Accident / Loss Entry

Aircraft Name: Liberator III BZ951 Date of Crash: 24 Feb 44 Unit 1673 HCU Airfield /Crash Location , Singapore
Details BZ951 "Y" of 1673 HCU was lost in an air explosion over Sinde, Burma on the night of 23/24 Feb 1944 during a bombing op, not "on navigational exercise 25.7.44" as Oughton indicates. An official 1944 report, "Review of the Night Operations of 231 Group, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (17th February - 16th March, 1944)" lists the following info: 23/24.2 Sinde Nil Y/1673 10,000 Air explosion seen. The serial number of "Y" was not listed. However, through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register, B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 "Y", operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix "C", 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it "did not identify by W/T" (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this island, is situated 2.5 miles due south of Sinde, the bombing objective on 23 February 1944. The local headman (presumably from Kyun-U) stated that the aircraft had bombed the Prome area (actually Sinde, but this is a reasonable geographic error) and was seen to approach the island on fire before crashing into trees at approximately 8.30 pm on 23 February 1944. He led the searcher team to the site and they identified the wreckage (what little there was) as a Liberator by its distinctive undercarriage. The headman said that three of the engines had been removed by the Japanese after the crash. Based on the geographic location and date, it was simple to link this to Liberator BZ951. The searcher team found four separate graves: one at the crash site containing five burnt bodies, and three others containing one body each about half a mile west of the crash site. Two crewmen were unaccounted for. The searcher team removed none of the bodies at that time. On 23 December 1946 No 42 War Graves Registration Unit visited the site with the headman to recover the BZ951 crew remains. The five bodies in the grave at the wreck site could not be relocated. From one of the other three graves a single body was recovered and eventually reburied – as an unknown airman – in Rangoon Military Cemetery (since renamed Rangoon War Cemetery) in Grave 8, Plot 3, Row G. The other two individual graves had been washed away by monsoon rains/flooding. So only one unnamed crewman lies buried in Rangoon War Cemetery today – identified as "AN AIRMAN OF THE 1939-1945 WAR, KNOWN UNTO GOD".
Source Matt Poole Henk Welting's Database
Aircrew details
Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetery/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flight LieutenantRobert Edward ALLITT (40594) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Warrant OfficerThomas Atkinson BEATEY (1104751) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
SergeantTrevor Barkley BOYD (1145139) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
SergeantWilliam Kenneth FLETCHER (1601738) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight LieutenantFrancis James FRASER (66511) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight LieutenantRaymond Douglas HOUGHTON (109364) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flying OfficerSydney MERRIMAN (1791) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight SergeantDavid NELSON (533351) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Pilot OfficerErnest William O'DONNELL (J/86852) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight SergeantHerbert Arthur RICHARDSON (517958) Liberator BZ951  Forum Post 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial

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ThreadPost TextAuthor
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastGreetings, all. I am trying to resolve a loss discrepancy in the Oughton book, "The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service", and to arrive at a definitive crew listing. I have come up with the names of ten missing airmen commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, some or all of whom may be from this particular crew. I wonder if anyone can more solidly tie any of them to a Liberator loss over Burma on 23/24 Feb 1944, and can link Liberator BZ951 to this date. In BZ951's individual history on pg 136 Oughton says that it was on 1673 HCU as of 1.2.44. This makes sense to me. However, Oughton's next info is "missing on navigational exercise, 25.7.44; SOC 15.11.44." This is a problem. I strongly suspect that the loss date is wrong and that BZ951 was really the known 1673 HCU loss of Liberator “Y” over Sinde, Burma on the night of 23/24 Feb 1944. An official 1944 report: "Review of the Night Operations of 231 Group, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (17th February - 16th March, 1944)" lists the following info: Missing Aircraft Date: 23/24.2 Target: Sinde Defences: Nil A/C: Y/1673 Av. Ht. Of Sqdn: 10,000 Cause: Air explosion seen. The serial number of aircraft "Y" is not given. It is definitely a Liberator, as 1673 was a Lib HCU. Contrary to this evidence, no Far East RAF losses for 23 or 24 Feb 1944 appear in the Air-Britain or Joe Baugher B-24 serial number lists. It looks probable to me that these lists are in error, and that BZ951 "Y" was lost on 23/24 Feb 1944, not "on navigational exercise 25.7.44". Neither a loss on 23/24 Feb '44 nor a loss on 25 July '44 is mentioned in "Air War For Burma" by Shores. I welcome any further evidence. The 10 names I've come up with include a Canadian. Perhaps the book "They Shall Grow Not Old" will reveal the truth? I don't have this book and kindly ask for someone to peek at a copy for me. The names: ALLITT, Flight Lieutenant, ROBERT EDWARD, D F C, 40594. Royal Air Force. 23rd February 1944. Column 431.  BEATEY, Warrant Officer, THOMAS ATKINSON, 1104751. Royal Air Force. 23rd February 1944. Age 28. Son of Thomas Beatey, and of Catherine Beatey, of Percy Main, Northumberland. Column 433. BOYD, Sergeant, TREVOR BARKLEY, 1145139. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Age 22. Son of A. Edgar and Margaret Jessie Boyd, of Greenisland, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Column 435.  FLETCHER, Sergeant, WILLIAM KENNETH, 1601738. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Column 436.  FRASER, Flight Lieutenant, FRANCIS JAMES, 66511. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Age 25. Son of James and Janette Fraser, of Hove, Sussex. Column 431.  HOUGHTON, Flight Lieutenant, RAYMOND DOUGLAS, 109364. Royal Air ....Read More.Matt Poole on 12th August 2009 02:20:45
F/S. D. Nelson RAF 23/02/1944Looking for the details leading to the loss of the following airman. Any help would be appreciated Regards Peter Name: NELSON, DAVID Initials: D Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Flight Sergeant Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Age: 26 Date of Death: 23/02/1944 Service No: 533351 Additional information: Son of Hugh and Nancy Nelson, of Ballyhampton, Larne, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Column 435. Memorial: SINGAPORE MEMORIAL ....Read More.peter on 17th December 2009 11:16:09
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastHello All, Could someone with access to GRO RAF War Deaths, complete the following listing? ALLITT, Robert E. F/Lt. 40594 - 1673 HCU BEATEY, Thomas A. W/O 1104751 - 1673 HCU BOYD, Trevor B. Sgt. 1145139 - 1673 HCU FLETCHER, William K. 1601738 - ? FRASER, Francis J. 66511 - ? HOUGHTON, Raymond D. 109364 - ? NELSON, David 533351 - 1673 HCU RICHARDSON, Herbert A. 517958 - ? I have only transcribed 'A', and part of 'B'. Col. ....Read More.COL BRUGGY on 17th December 2009 07:12:53
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastALLITT, Robert E. F/Lt. 40594 - 1673 HCU BEATEY, Thomas A. W/O 1104751 - 1673 HCU BOYD, Trevor B. Sgt. 1145139 - 1673 HCU FLETCHER, William K. 1601738 - 1573 HCU <--- as printed, but clearly a typo on the register FRASER, Francis J. 66511 - 1673 HCU HOUGHTON, Raymond D. 109364 - 1673 HCU NELSON, David 533351 - 1673 HCU RICHARDSON, Herbert A. 517958 - 1673 HCU I knew there was a reason I stayed up! What format are you transcribing it? Excel, Word, notepad? ....Read More.dennis_burke on 17th December 2009 09:06:59
A monument for Beaufort N1154 crewHello to all, Thanks to Dennis’s work, I’m happy to let you know that relatives of P/O Brooks will finally be present for the monument erection. Her’s a copy of a message I was told I could share with you : > Dear Mr. Brooks, > > Gilbert Quéré, President of the Brest Côte des Legendes Rotary club > has given me your e-mail message from last Wednesday. Our club met > last night and I can tell you that our members are absolutely > delighted that you and your father plan to attend the ceremony for > your uncle and the three other airmen who were killed at > Hôpital-Camfrout 70 years ago. Thanks so much for agreeing to do this! > > I should probably explain that I'm an American who's been living in > Brittany for just under four years, that I've been a member of the > Côte des Legendes club for about three years and that - largely for > reasons of our common language - the Club has asked me to serve as the > main point of contact with those who who will be coming from Great > Britain for this event. (In addition to you and your father, several > members of the Rotary club in Dudley, England will be participating.) > > With respect to arrangements: I plan to meet your flight at the Brest > airport when it arrives at 11:30 a.m. on Monday the 6th. I'm 64 years > old, 5' 10" tall with brown hair that turns a bit more gray each year; > I'll be wearing a brown leather jacket and I'll have a sign with your > names on it. We've arranged for you and your father to stay at the > Oceania Hotel, not far from the airport, on Monday night. This hotel > is where we have our regular Monday-evening Rotary meetings, and we'd > like to invite you and your father to have dinner with our club that > evening. The people from Dudley will also be there, and Fred Austin, > a member of the Dudley club who as a child and young teenager survived > both the Holocaust and the Blitz, will give a talk after dinner > relating some of his experiences as well as his thoughts on the event > we'll commemorate the next day. > > I can give you full details regarding the ceremony if you'd like. But > the essentials are that we must all arrive at Hôpital-Camfrout by > 10:00 a.m. (I'll arrange for you and your father to be driven there > from the airport) and that the ceremony, which will last a little over > one hour, will be followed by an indoor reception and a lunch. We will > make sure that everything is finished by about 2:30 p.m. so that we > can get you back to the airport for your 5:35 flight without hurrying, > and with about two hours to spare. > > Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me if there's anything at > all regarding your visit that you'd like to discuss, or if there is > more information you'd like me to provide. E-mail may be the easiest > way to do this, but let me give you the number of my portable phone in > case you'd like to give me a call at some point. It's 33 6 33 65 28 60. > > On behalf of ....Read More.Gildas on 24th November 2010 05:06:38
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastI'm glad you revived this thread, Colin. Since my last posting I have learned more details to share. The out of print BURMA LIBERATORS books are a valuable source, more so Vol. 2, although there are some baffling flaws and omissions that should have been explained (i.e., missing segment of a squadron's ORB). The books are hard to find, though. Back to BZ951... The following summary is based upon the 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit’s Operations Record Book; information provided to the next-of-kin of one of the casualties by the Air Historical Branch; previous postings in this message thread, and my analysis of wartime maps, a bomb damage assessment report, and Google Earth imagery. B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 “Y”, operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix “C”, 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) 1601738 Sgt FLETCHER, William Kenneth – FLIGHT ENGINEER 66511 F/Lt FRASER, Francis James – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 1145139 Sgt BOYD, Trevor Barkley – WOP/AIR GUNNER 1104751 W/O BEATEY, Thomas Atkinson – AIR GUNNER 517958 F/Sgt RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur – AIR GUNNER CAN J.86852 P/O O’DONNELL, Ernest William – AIR GUNNER IND 1791 F/O MERRIMAN, Sydney – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 533351 F/Sgt NELSON, David - FLIGHT ENGINEER The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it “did not identify by W/T” (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this island, is situated 2.5 miles due south of Sinde, the bombing objective on 23 February 1944. The local headman (presumably from Kyun-U) stated that the aircraft had bombed the Prome area (actually Sinde, but this is a reasonable geographic error) and was seen to approach the island on fire before crashing into trees at approximately 8.30 pm on 23 February 1944. He led the searcher team to the site and they identified the wreckage (what little there was) as a Liberator by its distincti ....Read More.Matt Poole on 29th June 2012 10:25:10
440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944Hello, 440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944 From Henk's list - WAAF UK HARDING, Gladys Irene - LACW - 440239 - WAAF - Bedfont, Middlesex. ALGERIA BOON, John William - AC1c - 639691 - RAF - El Alia, Algeria. SINGAPORE ALLITT, Robert Edward - F/O (Pilot) - D.F.C - 40594 -RAF - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. SOUTH AFRICA McLAREN, John Archibald - Cpl - 519365 - RAF - Johannesburg (West Park ), Gauteng, South Africa. [84 Sqdn]. UK BLACKETT, Harold Elliott - Sgt (Pilot) - 1367659 - RAFVR - Paisley (Woodside), Renfrewshire. LOVELOCK, Sidney John - AC2c - 1726809 - RAFVR - Stratfield Mortimer (St. Mary ), Berkshire. MARSHALL, Charles Beresford - Sqdn/Ldr - 77717 - RAFVR - Shepperton, Middlesex. MAXWELL, Victor Edwin - MiD(2x) (Irish Republic) - Wng/Cdr - 36004 - RAF - Brookwood, Surrey. THOMAS, Melville Elvet - AC1c - 1312270 - RAFVR - Llangunnor (St. Cynwr ), Carmarthenshire. VOSE, George Albert - LAC (Pilot U/T) - 1804332 - RAFVR - Cranwell (St. Andrew ), Lincolnshire. WARD, Jack James Mount - W/O (WoP) - 1060980 - RAFVR - Glasgow (Riddrie Park ), Glasgow. WILLIAMS, John - F/S - 411512 - RAF [Formerly of the King's Coy Grenadier Guards] - Brookwood, Surrey. From CWGC & Geoff's site's - SINGAPORE BOYD, Trevor Barkley, Sgt - 1145139 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. FLETCHER, William Kenneth - Sgt - 1601738 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. FRASER, Francis James - F/L - 66511 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore.[ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas - F/L - 109364 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore.[ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. NELSON, David - F/S - 533351 - RAF - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur - F/S - 517958 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. SOUTH AFRICA HARDY, Albert - AC2c - 1486438 - RAFVR - Johannesburg (West Park), Gauteng, South Africa. Alex ....Read More.Alex Smart on 17th November 2013 08:10:40
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastHi Matt, I just want to say a massive thank you for all this information about BZ951. My wife's great uncle was F/Lt Robert Allitt DFC and bar. We knew he was lost somewhere in the Far East after having fought in the Battle of Britain but none of us knew any of the circumstances. My wife and I visited Kranji Memorial in January 2001. I know that all of the information will be of great interest to my wife and indeed her brother as it is to my young children. Again, many thanks. Oliver [QUOTE=Matt Poole;77752]I'm glad you revived this thread, Colin. Since my last posting I have learned more details to share. The out of print BURMA LIBERATORS books are a valuable source, more so Vol. 2, although there are some baffling flaws and omissions that should have been explained (i.e., missing segment of a squadron's ORB). The books are hard to find, though. Back to BZ951... The following summary is based upon the 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit’s Operations Record Book; information provided to the next-of-kin of one of the casualties by the Air Historical Branch; previous postings in this message thread, and my analysis of wartime maps, a bomb damage assessment report, and Google Earth imagery. B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 “Y”, operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix “C”, 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) 1601738 Sgt FLETCHER, William Kenneth – FLIGHT ENGINEER 66511 F/Lt FRASER, Francis James – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 1145139 Sgt BOYD, Trevor Barkley – WOP/AIR GUNNER 1104751 W/O BEATEY, Thomas Atkinson – AIR GUNNER 517958 F/Sgt RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur – AIR GUNNER CAN J.86852 P/O O’DONNELL, Ernest William – AIR GUNNER IND 1791 F/O MERRIMAN, Sydney – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 533351 F/Sgt NELSON, David - FLIGHT ENGINEER The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it “did not identify by W/T” (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this ....Read More.Oliver Schofield on 11th November 2015 03:37:45
440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944Hi ALGERIA BOON, John William - AC1c - 639691 - RAF - El Alia, Algeria. UK HARDING, Gladys Irene - LACW - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. . BLACKETT, Harold Elliott - Sgt (Pilot) - possibly killed whilst flying in Oxford I, LX319 of No 15 (P) AFU, which flew into the ground near Aston Down in a snowstorm. LOVELOCK, Sidney John - AC2 - registered in Henley. MARSHALL, Charles Beresford - Sqdn/Ldr - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. MAXWELL, Victor Edwin - MiD(2x) (Irish Republic) - Wng/Cdr - registered in Westminster and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. THOMAS, Melville Elvet - AC1 - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. . VOSE, George Albert - LAC (Pilot U/T) - possibly killed whilst flying in Master II, DL893 of the RAFC, which dived into the ground near Swineshead in Lincolnshire during a formation flying practice. WILLIAMS, John - F/S - 411512 - RAF [Formerly of the King's Coy Grenadier Guards] - Brookwood, Surrey. SINGAPORE ALLITT, Robert Edward - F/O (Pilot) - D.F.C - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. BOYD, Trevor Barkley, Sgt - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. FLETCHER, William Kenneth - Sgt - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. FRASER, Francis James - F/L - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas - F/L - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. NELSON, David - F/S - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur - F/S - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. SOUTH AFRICA HARDY, Albert - AC2 - serving 25 AS. Malcolm ....Read More.malcolm_raf on 18th November 2013 11:09:49

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