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Thread: Mystery – Pilot’s signet ring returned to widow in 1946

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    Default Mystery – Pilot’s signet ring returned to widow in 1946

    I am hoping to tap into the experts on this site.

    I have been researching Halifax HR732 MH-Y as an amateur since 2009. FTR 4 Dec 1943 Leipzig raid – all crew commemorated at Runnymede – no crash site ever identified.

    The pilot’s widow received an official letter, June 1946, stating that her husband’s ring (pilot Arthur Jack Salvage) had been recovered and was in the process of being returned to her - she had not even identified it yet! I have a copy of this letter. The pilot’s wedding ring was eventually returned, by mail, and she was then able to positively identify the ring - it was damaged and blackened. From multiple sources I have confirmed the only inscription on the ring was the pilot’s initials A.J.S. – there was no other identifying information. There are more than 500 WWII servicemen with initials AJS recorded in the CWGC database.

    Correspondence with the MoD (I have copies of all letters), in summary, “… The ring was obtained from German authorities by the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine. There is no information on where the ring was discovered nor any report on circumstances relating to its discovery ...”

    D.W. Milliken (RG) RCAF – my uncle. I have his full 200 pg file from the Canadian Library/Archives. No MRES report and no useful information relating to a crash site.

    For those with much more research expertise than myself my questions are the following;

    Am I totally off base in assuming there is no way to connect the ring with pilot AJ Salvage without additional identifying artifacts such as his identity disk or service number sewn on his clothing?

    Is it therefore possible/likely his body was found, identified, and then buried as an “Unknown Airmen” in what became East Germany “off grounds” to MRES efforts? Why he would not be in a marked grave is also a mystery?

    With the discovery of the ring (and body?) I doubt they crashed in the North Sea/lake/forest or some other remote area?

    TIA
    Rodger
    Last edited by rmventuri; 24th April 2014 at 17:15.
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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    First, a book on the Missing Enquiries Research Service - (Stuart Hadaway, (Missing Believed Killed: The Royal Air Force and the Search for Missing Aircrew, 1939-1952, published in 2008 by Pen and Sword Books) is worth acquiring for the study of methodology used by the service. All manner of items were used including laundry marks. Moreover, if the crew of an aircraft became subject of MRES inquiries, the resulting reports did not necessarily end up in the files of each and every member. Hence, if the file D.W. Milliken does not have an MRES report, there might still be one in the file of other crew - particularly that of the pilot. Connecting the dots was certainly difficult in 1945-46 and incomparably more complex decades later.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 24th April 2014 at 09:39. Reason: spelling

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    Thanks Hugh. Yes I am about half way through Stuart's book. A few years ago the pilot's widow wrote the MoD requesting a copy of Salvage's MRES report - they responded none exists. She also requested a list of items they had recovered in addition to the ring - they responded they do not have any report of additional recovered items.

    Cheers
    Rodger
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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