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Thread: 102 sqdn RAF Halifax LW337 remains found

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    Default 102 sqdn RAF Halifax LW337 remains found

    An article in the World News section of today's Daily Telegraph [10/10/08]re Sgt. John Bremner [should it be Flt /Sgt. ?]

    "A Second World War pilot is to be buried with full military honours 64 years after his plane was shot down, after his remains were tracked down by a comrade who survived the crash"

    To paraphrase -

    The 102 sqdn RAF Halifax, with 8 crew, was shot down near Berlin during a night raid. Four crew died but bodies of Sgt Bremner & a Canadian Warrant Officer, Charles Dupueis were never found. The plane's navigator,who was blown out of the plane & survived to beome a POW ,was determined to find the wreckage so after he retired in 2005 he travelled to Germany to meet historians & eyewitnesses of the crash.With the use of metal detectors he found the plane wreckage in undergrowth in remote woodland, together with the remains of Sgt Bremner. His bones took 2 years to DNA. There is no mention of finding the remains of Dupueis.

    One other crewman & Bremner's sister attended the memorial service.
    The article was written by Nick Britten.

    I couldn't find the article in the Telegraph online but I presume it is there ?

    I am always interested in these findings of WW2 bombers because my RAAF father's 31 SAAF Liberator KH158 is still missing.

    Anne

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    Hi Anne,

    Liberator B.VI KH 158, 31 SAAF sqn, lost 12/13-10-1944, take off from Celone/Italy, 16.30h. Supplying partisans ENE of Genoa. Assumed lost in the Italian (Ligurian) Alps.
    All crew missing:
    Maj(P) URRY, Selwyn S. - 102736V - SAAF (S Rhodesia) - Malta Mem. - P17 - C1
    F/O(CP) HUDSPITH, George E. - 53114 - RAF - Malta Mem. - P13 - C1
    Lt(N) COLLARD, Geoffrey A. - 329145V - SAAF - Malta Mem. - P17 - C1
    F/O(Ba) MILLAR, Thomas R. - 422612 - RAAF - Malta Mem. - P16 - C1
    Lt(WAG) ARMSTRONG, Norman W. - 103940V - SAAF - Malta Mem. - P17 - C1
    2Lt(WAG) LORDAN, Petrus J. - 36065V - SAAF - Malta Mem. - P17 - C2
    W/Oš(WAG) BLOCH, Leonard B. - 208109V - SAAF - Malta Mem. - P17 - C2
    Sgt(Ag) FITZGERALD, Reginald C. - 2235257 - RAF - Malta Mem. - P14 - C2
    With thanks to Henk Welting.

    I hope that one of the friends in Italy picks this up, and can find some more data.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    Default Kh158

    Thanks Rob .
    On this supply drop mission to partisans in Nth Italy of 12th Oct.1944, twenty 31 & 34 SAAF planes left base at Celone, Foggia . Each plane had 8 crew
    Four of the Libs crashed in the alps but wreckage immediately or eventually found .In fact 2 planes were heard to crash by locals & the rescue at Rora was soon after, though no crew survived .The fifth plane crashed at Cantalupa & my father's plane [the 6th] just disappeared & so far has not been found in the Ligurian Mts. nor were the supplies dropped .

    I have been to the DZ villages in Liguria & they are mountainous & very picturesque.

    As the weather was bad only 3 crews managed to see the drop zone through the clouds to drop supplies. Is KH158 in the sea off the west coast of Italy or in Lake Bolsena as thought so 2 years ago? An unsuccessful search in a small part of the lake was carried out but there is still the rest of the huge, 14 mile across, lake to search .

    Was KH158 damaged the night before on 11th Oct when it took part in a supply drop to Yugoslavia & enemy night fighters were about & damage, if any, not noticed ?

    The pilot was 29 & second in command at the base ,my father 28 & bombaimer leader at the base & the crew very experienced flying together .They had made 2 highly dangerous trips to Warsaw in August during the Warsaw airlift & returned safely.

    I have been researching since 2001 & perhaps one day they will be found .I know thousands of WW2 planes are still missing .

    Anne

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    Thanks, Anne. A loss at sea, or in the big lake, seems possible. The west coast of Italy is diver territory, because of the clear water. Shall pass the message to a friend in the south of France, who is familiar with that area.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    Default Kh158

    Rob
    Thank you again !! I'd be most interested in your diver friend's opinion or "look see "

    The flight path was to the west coast & over isle of Elba to the north.Some planes were blown off course.

    I started my research mainly for my mother ,who is now 89 & lives in Australia & because of a letter my father sent to me for my 1st birthday -from Italy early 1944.

    The Bolsena search was arranged by the British Defence Attache' in Rome after I wrote to him asking if it was possible . Romagna Air Finders in Italy had a sonar picture of a large plane in the lake in a certain area in April 2006 .This area was searched,by an underwater camera, with operatives from UK but on the second day the camera snagged on a helicopter on the lake bed & the search was abandoned. I was present at the search .

    It all costs a great deal & a boat pulling a sonar camera around the lake may be a better bet but who knows ? There are other plane wrecks in the lake.

    If anything had been found it would have had to be left underwater as a war grave & I wasn't really happy about that but bringing remains up would also be horrendous.It's easier if planes are found on land, even if buried deep down.A US army plane was found a year or so ago in shallow water off the mid Italian west coast.

    Anne

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    Thanks, Anne. Side scan sonar has become within reach of private indivuduals. Word has been send out to the south of France. Perhaps we shall be lucky, and find forces that can be combined.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    Thanks again Rob

    I need to win the lottery I think. A Channel 4 film co.wanted to get involved at Bolsena but I was wary.Sky/channel 5 came out to Bolsena & did an interview & that was enough.

    One local man, of the right age,said he had seen a bomber go into the lake, chased by fighters but that may have been when Rome was still enemy occupied.Bolsena is north of Rome & Viterbo.

    Anne

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    Anne,

    I think I'm right in saying you've conducted a lot of reseach into the loss of your father's aircraft over the years, but this sentence from your last post but one struck me:

    "The flight path was to the west coast & over isle of Elba to the north.Some planes were blown off course"

    Two things:

    1. Do you mean the actual flight path - or the briefed flight path?
    2. When you say 'were blown off course' on what do you base that - the winds at the briefed flight level, or low level winds in the drop zone?

    Just putting on my 'met' hat and wondering how deep you've dug in this respect.

    Brian

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    Brian
    Thanks for your interest. I hope I can answer your questions but most of my research is purely amateur & listening to those who were there .

    The briefed flight path.

    I have spoken to some ex 31 & 34 Sqdn SAAF members who remember that night .There were 4 Drop Zones named Chrysler, Dodge,Morris [ENE of Genoa -KH158 ] & Parrot -all cars .
    Five crews flew to each one & the mission was regarded as a regular supply drop.

    I managed to track down a few ex 31 & 34 SAAF members who had taken part in the supply mission & remembered that night .I also attended a commemoration in Italy & listened to speeches, given by ex partisans, who heard the planes crash or the roar of the engines as they tried to gain height & some who attended the crash sites .

    The men have told me of the stormy conditions they hit soon after takeoff which apparently conflicted with the briefed weather forecast.Low cloud ,high winds & poor visibility. One crew found themselves blown towards Corsica but managed to fly to the DZ in the north of Italy & drop their supplies.Another, who was flying to the Morris DZ as well told me that he did not see any other planes after reaching the coast .That seemed strange to me .One crew saw balls of fire, from the air, when they reached the north.

    The DZ areas were covered by low cloud so only 3 crews managed to see below to drop supplies.This is probably why 4 planes crashed in the Alps .They hit mountainsides. Most crews aborted & returned to base.

    I don't have any specialised met knowledge & apparently one can find out about weather conditions on the night from official sourses .I have just listened to what ex crew had to say.I know memories from so long ago aren't always reliable but as one man said "I will never forget that night "

    Some of my information is from an Italian amateur researcher who grew up in the area where the Ostana plane crashed ,collected information from locals & investigated at the National Archives [then the PRO]

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 11th October 2008 at 09:01.

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    I'll email you Anne.

    Brian

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