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Thread: 640 Sqn Halifax LW499 - why was crew buried 90 kilometres away?

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    Default 640 Sqn Halifax LW499 - why was crew buried 90 kilometres away?

    I have a notation for the loss of Halifax LW499 on 13 May 1944, which says the crash may have occurred near Genk, Belgium, which makes sense, since the mission was to the rail yards in nearby Hasselt. Yet the crew is buried 90 kilometres away in the Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp,when there were cemeteries closer. Both British, Canadians and an Australian were among the crew and they were all buried in the same cemetery, so it doesn't seem to be a case of nationality. However, the main road from Genk does seem to lead to Antwerp, so perhaps it was the preferred choice at this point in the war?

    Can anyone confirm for me the location of this crash? Was this an extra-specially long distance to travel for burial? I have the crew info and a note that Oblt Tober, 111./NJG2, made the claim.

    Thanks
    David

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    Sgt G H Rose RAAF Casulaty File is scanned serial number 437319

    Office here is too warm and its nearly hometime so I shan't sumarise it as I can't concentrate!

    I did pick up this bit, that the Police Inspector Of GEEL in Holland reported to the Army in 1945 about the aircraft exploding abouve that village and they retrieved parts of they aircraft. They managed to get some names of the airmen etc so crash/loss was in Holland.
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 20th April 2009 at 15:30.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    David,
    The NAA file for Rose says aircraft exploded over Geel, Antwerpen, would this be any help.
    Alan.

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    Hi David
    If your record of the burial is CWGC or Chorley's BCL don't forget that in the latter months of the war and for a few years after there was a big effort made to locate and identify all Aircrew casualties(as well as the other Services) and both sources now reflect the results. CWGC was given the task, as in the 1st WW, of looking after all the memorials and graves of Commonwealth Personnel plus many thousands of those who fought with the UK Services but were exiles from occupied countries.CWGC made a decision that in many hundreds of cases bodies would be moved to designated "collection" cemeteries to make it easier to carry out their responsibilities. Schoonselhof was one such Cemetery, the Reichswald Military Cemetery is another example. There is a good chance that this crew were originally buried closer to the crash site if they were found close to the time they were shot down, or else if they were discovered post war were taken direct to the nearest "Collection" cemetery. The search to find missing aircrew was carried out by a Department of the Air Ministry, set up for the task,the Missing Research and Enquiry Service. They made their results available to CWGC. It is possible that Chorley's BCL will contain details of the initial burial ,in some cases, but only if the information was available to him at the time of writing. CWGC also has details of burials but publishes only the final resting place/Memorial
    Regards
    Dick

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    Thanks all. I figured a collection of burials was what was going on, I just thought 90kms was a bit far with other large cemeteries in the area. But, not knowing which is a collection cemetery and which wasn't, I thought I'd ask the question.

    Anyway, I had a look at the digitized file at NAA but I don't see any reference to the Dutch police report and possible location of Geel, Holland. Am I looking at the wrong file? It's his personnel file that I found using his service no.

    There is a Geel along the highway from Hasselt to Antwerp but that is still in Belgium. Genk is close in spelling too and right near Hasselt.

    Of course, all might be revealed in the Canadian crewman's file. He was Douglas Osborne Thomas, RCAF, one of my Malvern chaps, but then I am still waiting for those files from Ottawa (patiently, of course!)
    Last edited by dfuller52; 21st April 2009 at 03:54. Reason: name correction of RCAF crewman
    David

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    Hi David

    I've just received files ordered in November so that makes the current wait something like 4 1/2 months. At least we can get them though unlike here in the UK so, like yourself, I'm being patient

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    David,

    Searching 437319 on NA Australia yields two scanned files for Rose; his personal file and his "Casualty-Repatriation" file. The latter file (pages 24-26) contains a description of the police officers actions, the post-crash looting of the crew's bodies by local civilians and a list of items recovered from the wreckage.
    Last edited by Ken MacLean; 20th April 2009 at 21:17. Reason: sp.

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    Thanks Ken, got it. I was putting the service no. in the wrong place.

    Can anyone tell me what the map grid reference translates to? It says 0888.

    Also, I have corrected the name of the RCAF pilot, who is the unidentified person on the report. He is P/O Douglas Osborne Thomas, J/87559.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 21st April 2009 at 03:57. Reason: addt'l info
    David

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    Gents,
    I've GEE (reargunner) first buried 15-5-1944 at Deurne near Antwerpen. Sgt SCOTT 1554210 PoW Camp L7 number 51. All other casualties (crash was on Belgian territory) first buried 15-5-1944 at the temporary cemetery Fort 3 Borsbeek.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Thanks very much Henk. I had seen the reference to Duerne but not the one to Borsbeek. So they had several stops along the way. Perhaps the file from Ottawa will have it described.

    And before anyone goes to any trouble... I caught myself this time and did the search thing. I found the thread about the map grid system and have located VK0888 on the Nord Guerre map. The spot it serves up, which is 51 9 35 N 4 59 27 E, puts the crash in the south part of Geel, so I'm there!

    Thanks all, as Hugh said the other day, what a wonderful place this is.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 21st April 2009 at 13:29. Reason: addt'l info
    David

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