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Thread: Unknow crew

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    Default Unknow crew

    Hello ,

    Just reading a book about "the Resistance in Belgium" and there is a photo of 4 graves.
    No names.
    It reads : Unknow 25/08/1941 Brages. Village located in Belgium.

    Just wondering who are they.

    Thank you
    Best regards
    René

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    Hi Rene
    Chorley Vol 2,gives an outside possible in the shape of Hampden I, AD718,of 144 Sqn that is reported as crashed in the vicinity of Brussels from a raid on Mannheim. When I input Brages into Google Maps or Google Earth it comes up with a village called Beert,about 15 Kms SW of Brussels I don't know if I am looking at a Flemish version of Brages. Chorley doesn't give a burial place for those killed other than that they are buried in the "Town Cemetery" which doesn't seem like a reference to Brussels itself. Chorley also reports that one crew member became a POW but that need not be inconsistent with 4 graves if he died very soon after.The crew were:-
    Sgt D A Whiting +
    P/O A E Hayward, POW
    Sgt G C Smith,+
    Sgt J Christie,+
    I have just looked up Whiting on CWGC and they record him as buried in Brussels Town Cemetery,which is at Evere in the NE of the city near the current Airport
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 29th May 2011 at 18:36.

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    "Footprints On The Sands Of Time" gives Hayward as being sent to a proper POW camp and hence I think he is a 'non starter' for this burial.

    There is a 218 Sqn Wellington X9753, which does not seem to be in 'Chorley' - at least I didn't see it but I have been at the claret! I haven't looked at RAFWEB.

    Does the photograph show any detail of the graves? For example, if they are close together it might indicate a collective grave with more than one name on each headstone, the crew might be 'An Airman of the Second World War' and hence they could have been unidentified and buried as such. Is there anything to confirm the date and/or location?

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    Default Unknow crew

    Hello,

    Thank you for your answer.
    It is a fact Brages is located outside Brussels.
    It is possible that first burial place was located in the cemetery of Brages and then tranfer to Brussels cemetery.

    I look at the photo , it shows 4 separate graves but it is possible that they were others.
    What I can see is on 3 graves: white cross on the top the British flag. On the horizontal part : Unknow under it Royal Air Force,
    From the horizontal part to the bottom : Died to Brages 25/08/1941

    After a close look at the 4 th grave it seems to have a name RO?SON. ? is because some flowers cover the letter.

    It is strange at Florennes cemetery on the German crosses it is written in German.
    Could this have been done by UK adminstration prior to move the crew to Brussels cemetery ?

    Best regards

    René

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    Rene
    is it possible that the fourth grave has a different date? It may be that of Sgt Thomas T Robson a W Op with 105 Sqn KIA 15 11 1940.

    Daz

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    Default Unknow crew

    Hello Daz,

    I could not seen a date on T. Robson's grave due to flowers. Was he also shot down in Brages ?
    On the 3 other graves , it is written "Unknow" but only on the left one is written Brages 25/8/1941 , in front on the 2 others it is covered by flowers.

    Just a thought; since it does not look like German crosses, could this photo be taken already in Brussels cemetery?

    Best regards

    René

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    Rene

    he is buried in Brussels Town Cemetry, so possible that he was originally buried at Brages and then moved to Brussels.

    Daz

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    Rene

    I'd have to agree with Dick in that I think that it may be the graves of a 144 Sqn crew:
    Sgt (AG) John Christie aged 21
    Sgt (WOp/AG) Gordon Charles Smith aged 22
    Sgt (Pilot) Donald Arthur Whiting aged 21

    They are shown as being three of the crew of a Hampden I on ops to Mannheim and crashing near Brussels in Chorley's BCL, the other crew member being taken POW.
    Regards
    Daz
    Last edited by 78SqnHistory; 29th May 2011 at 21:56. Reason: Additional information

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    Now we know that the graves are 3 and 1, I agree that the candidates are likely to be the 144 Sqn crew first thought of.

    Somewhere there should be the records of the Graves Concentration Units and the RAF teams who worked to find the MIAs - see Stuart Hadaway's book. These would show from whence the remains were lifted and confirm the situation.

    It is probable that local people were involved following the initial crash and may have some recollections about the burial of the crew.

    Old Duffer

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    Don't have the name Brages on file as a possible crash/burial location. What I know about this 144 Sqn crew was that they may have baled their aircraft from a too low altitude. The aircraft may have crashed near Castle "Papenburg" at Pepingen (hamlet Beert) on the road Ninove - Halle, what indeed is SW of Brussels.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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