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Thread: Commemoration in remembrance of the crew of 31 Sqdn SAAF Lib. KG875 in Italy

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    Default Commemoration in remembrance of the crew of 31 Sqdn SAAF Lib. KG875 in Italy

    I've just returned from Italy after attending the commemoration of a 31 Sqdn SAAF crew [4 x RAF and 4 x SAAF] whose Liberator KG875 crashed in the Italian Alps on 12th October 1944 while on a supply drop mission to Italian partisans.This plane was one of 5 found whose crews crashed in several places in the Italian Alps, while on this mission .A 6th plane of 8 crew is still missing -KH158
    A service was held in a church in a mountain village near Valprato Soana on 27th July 2013 .A monument was built by the church, made out of a large stone with a piece of the plane attached to it.This piece was recently found near the crash site and brought down by helicopter.
    Attended by some relatives of this and the other crews , church and official dignitaries, the Alpini and many local people .

    I was able to find families of this crew in UK and South Africa, who did not know where their relative had died.

    Anne

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    Anne,

    Thank you for the update as above. I suspect a moving occasion for all concerned.

    Has it been possible to determine anything at all about what happened to KH158 ie, did it deliver its cargo?, was it routed over the sea?, were any position reports made and if so, what was the D/R position? Is there an MRES report about this loss and what was said?

    A report I have just read suggests that all the aircraft crashed in the same area - is this thought feasible and is it possible to scour the area thoroughly?

    Colin Cummings

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    Colin
    The five crashed planes which were found immediately or some months later, crashed in areas near or far away from their designated drop zones .But all in high mountains of northern Italy .The thought was that the weather turned as they flew up the coast to northern Italy [over Elba] Reports came back from those who returned to base -14 out of 20 crews that storms and low cloud made seeing the DZs difficult .[we stayed in a mountain village on this visit and the evening thunderstorms were ferocious as well as mist coming down]
    Was it inexperience or trying to do their job and come down through the cloud to see the partisan fires ,then hitting an unseen mountain side ? The mountains in north and middle of Italy were a hazard for wartime aircrew .

    Apparently KH158 crew did not drop their supplies so it's not known if they reached their DZ area ENE of Genoa in the Ligurian mts.The plane vanished .An army padre reported seeing a plane on fire but this was not followed up, as far as I know and may have been one of the 5 crashed planes .A search was undertaken in Lake Bolsena in 2006 at the suggestion of an Italian airfinders group and my request to the British Embassy.But the lake is huge and the underwater came broke days into the search.There are other identified WW2 plane wrecks in the lake. I've written to many village mayors/priests ,Genoa coastguard and recreational diving companies and received 3 replies only -all negative .It's something I will do again .In 2011 we placed a plaque in memory of the KH158 crew ,by an old partisan house [still occupied] and on a hiking trail in the Ligurian Mts.Local people and officials came to the service.

    The crew of KH158 were very experienced , having flown many times together and on the Warsaw airlifts.Three men were in their late 20s.The pilot was second in command at the base and my father was the sqdn leading bombaimer .Was there a mechanical problem ?

    Wartime planes are still being found on land ,less so in the sea .

    Thanks for your reply and perhaps more than you bargained for in my reply !
    Anne

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    Hello,

    My wife have one old oncle living in Valprato Soana: i remember one time his speak me tragedy of KG875 arrived near Pianetto.
    Oncle tells me and he went to the scene after the incident
    Sometime I'll pass my holidays in this village: if you need a picture of this monument, i have a little bit to send us in mp.

    Sorry for my english

    Best regards,

    Marco B.

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    Marco
    Thank you very much for your reply !! It is amazing how the internet can connect far and wide.

    We enjoyed our time in the mountains very much and staying in Piamprato .
    We also stayed in Cuorgne for a short time

    I have sent you an email .

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 17th August 2013 at 09:31.

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    Hello,

    I have sent to you more pictures of this monument.

    If you need other info, i offer my services.

    regards,

    Marco B.
    Last edited by Piamprato; 17th August 2013 at 10:25. Reason: errors

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    Dear Anne
    Thank you for the update on all your hard work ad dedication towards these crews.
    Best wishes
    James

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    Hi Anne

    Thank you for your regular updates on your quest.

    I'm sure many of the other forumites will join me in wishing you well in that task. It would be wonderful news if, one day, you are able to report that you've found your dad's aircraft.

    So good luck, and keep it up!

    Ian

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    Ian
    Thank you .I'll post a notice if the plane is ever found !
    Wartime planes are still being found, mainly in the ground or near shallow coastal areas.If it's in the sea it may be declared a war grave which I would find very "unsettling ".Divers sometimes go down to these wrecks and strip them , depending on their ethics .

    Anne

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