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Thread: Lost without trace 27/28.9.1943

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    Default Lost without trace 27/28.9.1943

    Dear gentlemen,

    in the night of 27/28. September 1943 5 Bombers got lost without trace:

    Halifax LK891
    Halifax LW228
    Halifax JN905
    Lancaster JB120
    Stirling EH991.

    Does anyone have an idea what could have happened to them? Did they all crash into the sea? Where are the matching night-fighter victories? Who has knowledge of graves of unkwon airmen of that mission?

    And finally: What caused the loss of Stirling EF495 and Halifax LK648?

    I only found two graves of unkown airmen in the Hannover War cemetery. They belong to the Wellington HE817 crew I guess that crashed onto Schulenburger Landstrasse/Hannover.

    Many questions I know but maybe anyone can help!

    kind regards

    Steve

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    Hi Steve
    It looks like you might have seen Chorley Vol 4, but it does have EF495 a Stirling of 149 Sqn which "came down in the N SEA". Sgt F D Tweedie, Sgt J W Crowe and Sgt P Lyons became POW, the other 4 were KIA and are on the Runnymede Memorial. Halifax LK648,
    IP-F, 434 Sqn "presumed crashed in the sea", F/Sgt J W Hallas RAAF, and Sgt R N Wallace RCAF, are buried in Esjberg(Fourfelt) Cemetery,after being washed ashore on Fano Is. and P/O J Sinclair RCAF lies in Farsund Cemetery Norway. The others have no known grave. Hallas' Casualty File is available on http://www.naa.gov.au/, using Record Search, Search as a Guest and his Service number 414558
    Apologies if I am duplicating what you already have
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 10th August 2008 at 18:09.

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    Hi Steve
    Look at http://www.flensted.eu.com/19430098.shtml, which has a little more detail on LK648, suggesting that it ditched off Denmark and the 2 buried in Esjberg were brought ashore by a fishing boat
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 10th August 2008 at 19:34.

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    Hi Steve,

    Your "I only found two graves of unkown airmen in the Hannover War cemetery" is puzzling. As the count stands today, there are 1.908 Allied non-US airmen buried in cemeteries throughout Western Europe. In Denmark there are 88. The majority is buried in coastal villages, with Germany as the exception, due to reburials in a few large CWGC concentration cemeteries. In Hannover (Limmer) War Cemetery there are burials of 50 unknown Allied non-US airmen. If you have been there, then you can hardly have overlooked 48 of these 50 graves. Therefore, I believe that you may be saying/asking something else. Can you clarify?

    Furthermore your "Who has knowledge of graves of unknown airmen of that mission?" is puzzling. You mention five aircraft, and if any-one had certain knowledge about burials of unknowns of these missions then the unknowns would not be unknown. So again, can you clarify?

    In anticipation of what you may be asking: IF an aircraft was lost at sea, and IF bodies washed ashore and were identified as coming from that aircraft, THEN other bodies from that aircraft may have washed ashore too. Where these bodies would wash ashore, if at all, cannot be calculated, as the number of parameters involved is huge, and as the values of these parameters can only be known with broad ranges. However, a statistical analysis shows the following:
    - Body behaviour at sea is different in different seas. The inland seas of Denmark show different patterns as compared to the North Sea off Denmark.
    - Bodies lost to the North Sea tend to wash ashore in the general direction of the Gulf Stream, meaning usually Northeast of the crash site.
    - Travel distances of bodies coming from the same crashed aircraft can vary greatly, as a function of the distance to a shore that is favourable to washups. Crashes close to a shore favourable for washups tend to lead to more washups per aircraft, spread less apart, and crashes in mid sea, meaning >150km from shores, tend to lead to less washups, spread widely apart.

    From this it follows that it is impossible to identify the grave of an unknown airman who washed ashore on the basis of such "washupology". However, it is possible to use this knowledge to point to impossibilities. For instance, a body cannot travel say 400km in the North Sea in a single day.

    Hope this helps somewhat. Perhaps I can be a bit more specific if you rephrase your question(s) in a more exact way.

    Regards,

    Rob
    Last edited by Rob Philips; 10th August 2008 at 21:21.

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    Hi Steve,

    1. Halifax LK891, 76 Sqn, mission to Hannover, lost at sea, probably the North Sea. 8 crew, all MIA.
    2. Halifax LW228, 77 Sqn, mission to Hannover, lost at sea, probably the North Sea. 7 crew, all MIA.
    3. Halifax JN905, 158 Sqn, mission to Hannover, lost at sea, probably the North Sea. 7 crew, all MIA.
    4. Lancaster JB120, 405 Sqn, mission to Hannover, lost at sea, probably the North Sea. 7 crew, all MIA.
    5. Stirling EH991, 622 Sqn, mission to Hannover, lost at sea, probably the North Sea. 7 crew, all MIA.

    Chances of connecting these 36 losses with graves of unknown airmen who washed ashore are slim indeed. For that the autopsy reports are needed, as these might hold evidence that points to individuals. But these reports shall already have been studied by the MR&ES at the time.

    Casualties are all RAF & RCAF, in common ranks. If there would be an uncommon high ranking officer amongst these, and if there would be an unknown RAF or RCAF of that rank, who washed ashore in a reasonably fitting time frame, then things could be different.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    Just a minor point, but I believe that Halifax LK648 should have been WL-F.

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    Bill is almost certainly correct as WL- is the Sqn code for 434 Sqn in rafweb.org. I got my info from Chorley Vol 4 which lists 3 434 Sqn losses and gives all of them the IP- code.
    Apologies for the mis-information
    Regards
    Dick

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    Hi Steve,

    I believe that with "two unknowns in Hannover War Cem" you may have meant the two RAF unknowns, buried in row 4B, both with the date 27-09-1943 on their headstones. As the five bombers were lost at sea, after a mission to Hannover, you need not look in this cemetery for any of the missing men. Three reasons:

    1. If bodies of unknown Allied airmen coming from these five aircraft would have washed ashore, and if that would have been in Germany, then their graves would have been relocated from initial burial in coastal villages to one of the concentration cemeteries neraby, meaning Kiel, Becklingen, Sage, or possibly Hamburg, and not Hannover.

    2. Dates on headstones of unknowns can mean date of death, or date that the body was found, or date that the body was buried. Sometimes the meaning of the date is indicated on the headstone, but more often than not this has not been done. Therefore you cannot read the dates seen, 27-09-1943, as dates of death. The truth about these matters, as far as it is known, is hidden in the archive of the Grave Registration and Grave Concentration Units, an archive that is now in the care of the CWGC. The CWGC considers this archive to be classified, meaning access for British government officials only. And these officials shall not seek access, as there is no British policy to support such an action.

    3. If the date would indeed be the date of death, then that would mean that the body was found directly after a crash. And that would mean that the MR&ES would have had good clues for identification. In the case of these five bombers, this would have meant retrieval of the bodies from the sea by the Germans very shortly after the crash. If that would have been the case, then again these burials would not have been done in, or relocated to, Hannover.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    Default Op 27/28.9.1943

    Hello to all,

    first I like to thank you for your answers. I know it is very difficult and maybe my questions were a little bit unprecise. Sorry!

    Rob:

    I exactly meant the collective grave in Field 4.B.18-19. I know about the other graves of unknown airmen on this cemetery.

    My question was if anyone has knowledge about graves of non-identified airmen with the date 27.9.43 marked on the gravestone as the both graves in Field 4.B. Hannover War cemetery.

    Rob, how do you know that these five a/c were lost at see?

    kind regards

    Steve

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    Hi Steve,

    There is one and only one other grave of an unknown Allied non-US airmen in Western Europe carrying the date 27-09-1943: an unknown RAF aviator, buried in Esbjerg Fovrfelt Cemetery, Denmark, grave A/9/20. As clarified earlier, you can hardly connect this grave to the losses of the five bombers in your enquiry.

    The status of the date mentioned in Esbjerg is something that Finn Buch and/or Soren Flensted might know, from the Esbjerg burial register. If you wish to pursue that, and if Finn & Soren do not read this, then you could contact them. They are forum members, with email addresses in the Members list.

    All lost at sea: I do not KNOW that, I repeat data found in literature, I did not investigate these losses. As all crew are missing, and as the flights crossed the North Sea, and as many crews vanished here without a trace, the "lost at sea" assumption is reasonable. There is always a chance that data would surface that would prove statements found in literature to be in error. This would mean an as yet undiscovered wreck in Germany, or perhaps Holland or Belgium, or a recent discovery that is not yet reflected in literature.

    Regards,

    Rob

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