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Thread: 31 Sqdn SAAF KH158 crew memorial plaque in Italy

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    Default 31 Sqdn SAAF KH158 crew memorial plaque in Italy

    On Sunday 15th May a memorial plaque for the 12th October 1944 missing in action crew of Liberator KH158 of 31 Squadron SAAF was unveiled, in a ceremony high in the Ligurian part of the Apennine mountains, ENE of Genoa, Italy.The plaque is in place on an old "round house" wall in the grounds of a 1944 partisan meeting house, Faggio Rotondo .This is in the vicinity the 1944 partisan supply drop zone area code "Morris " and near a regular mountain hiking trail .

    The ceremony was attended by my family [daughter, son-in-law and grandsons of F/O T R Millar RAAF-the bombaimer] also family of the pilot, Maj SS Urry SAAF , British , Australian and South African Embassy officials in Rome and Genoa plus the Italian Ligurian officials ,Member of Parliament, Mayors from the nearby towns and local people. The event was covered by the Genoan press.

    All of this was made possible by an Italian friend who suggested the plaque in remembrance of my father, F/O TR Millar RAAF and approached the local Mayor with his suggestion.He and another friend, who was involved in a earlier airforce commemoration, put most of this event together, with input from myself.

    Liberator KH158 is still missing [and is probably underwater somewhere] but I feel that this plaque is a culmination of 10 years of research into my father's wartime life and disappearance .Now more local Italian people and officials know about the loss of the plane and one day someone just might find out information about it's whereabouts .

    The crew were --
    Maj SS Urry -SAAF
    F/O G E Hudspith -RAF
    F/O T R Millar RAAF
    Lt GA Collard -SAAF
    Lt NW Armstrong -SAAF
    2/Lt PJ Lordan -SAAF
    W/O LB Bloch -SAAF
    Sgt RC Fitzgerald -RAF

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 19th May 2011 at 14:04.

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    Anne thanks for sharing this very personal story. I have followed your posts on several forums and knew from them about the circumstances of your fathers death. It must be very comforting that after all this time there are those people who care enough to create such a tribute.

    My Uncle was lost after the last big Hamburg raid in 1943, and lies with his fellow crew members somewhere in the North Sea, so I think perhaps I can understand some of your emotions.

    Regards
    Roger
    An American airman, was told at Briefing to ‘Go in at 30,000 feet and keep out of the flak.”
    “If I go in a 20,000 feet, what will happen?’ asked the airman.
    “You’ll probably be mentioned in despatches”, answered the officer.
    “If I go in at 10,000 feet ?“ he asked.
    “In that case you will probably get the Congress Medal”, he was told.
    "And if I go in at 5,000 feet?’ he inquired excitedly.
    “Don’t be a fool, man”, replied his superior, “you’ll go and bump into the R.A.F. at that height.”

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    Roger
    Thank you.I started researching mainly for my mother but also because of a letter my father wrote to me from Italy for my first b.day.I was also so lucky to meet my Italian airforce research friend ,who contacted me 2 years ago & who proved to be a sincere, helpful & energetic person.
    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~stormrhb/millar/millartrm.htm

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 18th May 2011 at 22:42.

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    Good to see this come to fruition, Anne, and thank you for sharing it with us. Have you ever had any leads on the whereabouts of your Dad's aircraft?

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    Andy
    No positive leads , only suppositions that it might be in Lake Bolsena, just north of Viterbo, but only because it was on the flight path and the only "flat " area -mountains are all around .A part search was started in 2006 [organised by the then British Defence Attache in Rome as 31 Sqdn SAAF was part of the 205 group RAF] using an underwater camera but the camera snagged or stuck on a helicopter wreck in the lake, on the second morning, so the search was halted or abandoned. My contact in Italy would like another search there but it's an expensive operation.

    More likely is that is in the sea on the west coast of Italy ,in a lake or exploded in the air but this probably would have been heard and reported, unless it then went into the sea ? The mountains in Italy are hiked or walked in so land crash wreckage probably would have been found.

    Anne

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