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Thread: A Canadian Air Gunner

  1. #1
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    Default A Canadian Air Gunner

    The following story appeared in The Halifax Chronicle Herald, 8th March 1949

    Arras, France, March 7 - (CP) - The body of an aviator washed up at Dunkerque, France, last week has been tentatively identified as that of the Canadian rear-gunner of a Wellington bomber. The R.A.F.'s identification service at Arras deduced this from the remains of clothing. In London the Air Ministry is following up the clue of a ring bearing the initials "P.W." which was found on the right hand.

    Can anyone supply the name of this casualty?

    Ian Macdonald

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    Default Unidentified Canadian

    G'day Ian

    It is quite likely it was actually this chap, J95219 Sergeant John Maurice de Macedo. He was an air gunner onboard Halifax B. Mk. III, s/n NR143 and coded WL-M from No. 434 'Bluenose' (B) Squadron that went missing on an op against Soest on the night of the 5th/6th of December, 1944. The ring was from Prince of Wales High School in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Hello Ian

    If this is the right chap as suggested? Then his first name is Joseph according to the online memorial and several sites:-

    http://www.canadaatwar.ca/memorial/world-war-ii/132393/pilot-officer-joseph-maurice-de-macedo/
    http://francecrashes39-45.net/listes_presents.html
    http://www.inmemories.com/Cemeteries/pihenlesguineswar.htm

    In "The RCAF Overseas":-
    The R.C.A.F. had an unlucky night, losing the only aircraft missing on this operation, one from the Thunderbirds and another from the Bluenose Squadron. In addition, two aircraft collided and crashed before reaching enemy territory, with the loss of both crews. Six of the Thunderbird crew, F/L P. G. Chipman, F/Os C. L. Shipman and P. H. Harris, FS J. Popadiuk and Sgts. D. N. McLaren and H. Rhodes (R.A.F.), were made prisoners of war. The other member of this crew, Sgt. J. Knoke, was lost as were all seven in the Bluenose Halifax, F/Os T. Kowalchuk and K. C. Christian, FSs V. E. Prouse, D. H. Lavalley and G. P. Coughlin, and Sgts. J. M. de Macedo and C. Higginbotham (R.A.F.).

    Regarding Arras The Times (London) has a German Underground Hospital found near Arras 2nd March 1949. Another newspaper has your identical story, but no name.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 30th May 2013 at 20:45.

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    Chris, thank you, you may well have solved the riddle, I'll look further and report if I find anything to confirm your suggestion.
    Mark, thanks for taking the time to supply background, much appreciated. De Macedo is the only member of his crew with a known grave which would fit with recovery from the sea.

    Ian Macdonald

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    Default Late Return

    Further information now to hand. Two RCAF Air Gunners who had graduated from Prince of Wales High School were missing in that part of the Channel however the other candidate was a taller man and that fact was accepted by De Macedo's father as proof of identity.
    De Macedo was wearing Sergeant's uniform as his commission had only come through on the 4th December.
    Per ardua ad astra

    Ian Macdonald

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