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Thread: Wing Commander Don Saville DSO DFC, O/C 218 Squadron

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    Default Wing Commander Don Saville DSO DFC, O/C 218 Squadron

    Gents,

    Looking into the details surrounding the death of two of the crew members of W/Cdr Saville on July 24th 1943 while attacking Hamburg.

    Unconfirmed reports suggest that F/Lt John Birbeck DFC ( 218 Gunnery Leader ) and rear gunner F/Sgt Adam Howat were murdered by hostile civilians. Can anyone fill in the gaps.

    Kind regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Hi Steve,

    I checked both B C Losses and Footprints and there is no mention in either. Sorry mate.

    Good luck,

    Regards,

    John.

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    Steve,

    The CWGC has all three names as being buried in a collective grave in Hamburg Cemetery, which perhaps suggests their bodies could not be individually identified when removed from the aircraft wreckage.

    Brian

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    Steve,

    Saville's A705 and A9300 files are digitised at the NAA. His A705 (p.24 of 43), states the following:

    RAF 74738 Wing Commander D T SAVILLE (DSO,DFC) Missing. Further to our AL718 CAS423 Feb 2 statement now received from Flying Officer EYRE through IRCC advises aircraft crashed near Neumunster after atttack by fighter. BEAVIS, BIRBECK, HOWATT baled out. BEAVIS found dead on ground, BIRBECK (and) HOWATT both died of injuries in hospital. SAVILLE, STANLEY and two unidentified found dead in wreckage.

    Errol might have more from Beavis' files.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd January 2012 at 23:08.

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    Col/Steve,

    Beavis's file repeats what appears in Saville's NAA file. No mention of civilians being involved in any of the crew's deaths.

    F R Saville wrote a book about saville: Bomber Commander: Don Saville Dso, Dfc - 'The Mad Australian', but you probably new this already.

    Errol

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    Errol,

    Strange, I thought! Francis Roy Chappell also wrote a biography of Don Saville.

    Col.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    Steve,

    Saville's A705 and A9300 files are digitised at the NAA. His A705 (p.24 of 43), states the following:

    RAF 74738 Wing Commander D T SAVILLE (DSO,DFC) Missing. Further to our AL718 CAS423 Feb 2 statement now received from Flying Officer EYRE through IRCC advises aircraft crashed near Neumunster after atttack by fighter. BEAVIS, BIRBECK, HOWATT baled out. BEAVIS found dead on ground, BIRBECK (and) HOWATT both died of injuries in hospital. SAVILLE, STANLEY and two unidentified found dead in wreckage.

    Errol might have more from Beavis' files.

    Col.
    Errol, John, COL and Brian,

    Thank you all for your help.

    I have been given over 20 years worth of letters and bits and pieces from the association to look after. Amongst the 2 LARGE boxes I found a number of letters regarding W/Cdr Saville DSO DFC, one of which mentions the murder on capture of both Birbeck and Howatt by hostile civilians. I have the books mentioned and found no reference in both.

    Not sure where else I can check, but thank you all again.

    Regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Steve

    There was a thread on the WW2 Talk forum regarding this subject in general. This is one of the posts from "ADM199":

    "WO309/1515 is a File at The National Archives with the description;
    "Arnsberg Germany: Issuing of orders not to protect shot down Airmen"

    WO 309 Contains many cases of Airmen being killed."

    Here's a link to the thread: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/war-air/24048-aircrew-killed-civilians.html

    Dave

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    Col,

    Er, yes, you are quite correct. (Gives self a smack on head.)

    Errol

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