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Thread: Leipzig Raid 4th December 1943

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    Default Leipzig Raid 4th December 1943

    Does anyone have information as to the composition of the bomber stream? By that I mean which Squadrons were in what part of the stream (front, middle or rear)?
    I'm compiling a list of the losses and cross referencing to NJG claims and crash locations, but it might give me a better sense as to approximately where the Squadrons were as they approached the target.
    In particular, I'm trying to establish what happened to a 51 Sqdn Halifax HR732. The rear gunner on HR782 reported seeing a bomber at the same height as them and off to the side "hit twice by flak and explode" and this seems to be before the turn at Stendal. However many of the night fighter claims are around Stendal and I would assume that they would not have been attacking inside flak belts. No record of the crash site or identification of the crew has been found, except the pilots wedding ring was returned, leaving us to believe they crashed on land.
    Thanks in advance for any help.

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    Kevin,
    You do not say from whence the wedding ring was returned, by whom or when.
    There are a couple of possibilities here. Was the ring returned by the RAF among the pilot's personal effects? If so then he wasn't wearing it when he was lost. If it was returned by other means, perhaps from occupied territory, then his body, or remains, must have been found which suggests there must have been a burial with attendant records. However, that raises the question of how was it known where to return it?
    The other possibility is that the body was recovered from the sea, but again, there must have been a burial and how was it known where to return the ring?
    According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, Pilot Officer A J Salvage, the pilot of HR 732, is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, so has no known grave. We are therefore left with a mystery of a returned wedding ring.
    Bill.
    Last edited by BillG; 23rd June 2009 at 19:38. Reason: Additional information.

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    Default Pilots wedding ring

    Bill, thanks for the prompt response.
    The ring was returned in damaged condition some 3 years after the end of the war. It was inscribed with the pilots initials and date of their wedding. His widow is still alive but does not recall any other personal effects, just the ring.
    As you say, this supposes that the crash was on land and at least there was sufficient identification for the ring to be returned as with just the inscription initials and date, I would have thought it would be impossible to return without additional identification or personal effects being found.
    The report of a mid air explosion before they bombed Leipzig might have broken the aircraft into numerous pieces and without serial number or aircraft code it might have been difficult to identify the rest of the crew.
    All the other losses that night have crew details except for a 97 Sqn Pathfinder Lancaster, but they tended to fly higher so would not have been so visible as an aircraft close by. Taking off close together would tend to keep them somewhere near, rather than a completely different Sqn and aircraft.
    PS: Impressed you have the correct spelling of the pilots surname, originally shown as Savage.
    Regards, Kevin

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    Hi Kevin,
    I'm still left with the feeling that somewhere out there is a grave of some sort. As you say, in order for the ring to be returned, some other form of identification must have been present at the recovery site. If only it could be established where the ring was sent from it would narrow down the area where enquiries might be made.
    I've a feeling that other forumites may well find their appetites whetted by this one.
    Bill.

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