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Thread: Details from CWGC

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    Default Details from CWGC

    Hi chaps

    Does anyone know if it's possible to get more info from the CWGC about the original place of death (ie crash location) of airmen now gathered into their cemeteries?

    Obviously on their website you can find where casualties are now buried, but the bodies would have been collected from quite a wide range. Would the CWGC have such information available?

    Just a thought for (maybe?) another avenue to explore in researching aircraft losses.

    Thanks in anticipation

    Ian

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    Hi Ian,

    I have asked them this precise question and was given an answer which I subsequently learned was correct.

    They also gave me a date that these men were moved which turned out to be incorrect. This alone shouldn't really be surprising seeing as the folks there today are working off documentation that is over 60 years old.

    I seem to recall I just sent an email to them via the "contact us" option on the site and a few days later I received a response.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Cwgc

    Hi Dave, good to hear from you again. Hope you're well.

    That's very interesting and looks like it'll be worth a try. As you know, I'm (still) on my 'Lubeck raid' project. I think I may be running out of files to check out up at Kew; getting anything out of NARA looks pretty complex; and I'm not sure what else I might find from any Canadian or Australian / NZ records.

    If the CWGC route may get some quick wins I think it'll definitely be worth a go.

    As an example, one of 'my' missing a/c, a 7 Sqn Stirling, is reported to have come down at 'Ahrensburg' which is SW of Lubeck, half way to Hamburg. However the raid came in from, and left via, the north / north-west and on that side there is a place called 'Ahrensbok' ... so I just wonder if by any chance there was a typo and this a/c actually came down there. There's a couple of others where I have the final resting places of the crews but haven't quite pinned down the crash sites with complete certainty, so if this works it'd be very handy.

    Thanks again for your help. What a star!

    Ian

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    Hi Ian
    Have you been able to look at the Files of the Missing Resaerch and Enquiry Service which operated from just before the end of WW2 and into the 50's? It was an RAF Section although there were comparable services for the USA and the Army. They were frequently
    involved at crash sites trying to locate "missing" airman and CWGC gained a lot from their efforts both at sites and Graves although they were not primarily a CWGC section. If you can get a look at a book,"Missing Believed Killed" by Stuart Hadaway, he has published notes for each chapter and these contain many AIR references which may contain the reports and therefore may have some indication of the crash sites from local knowledge at the time.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default CWGC etc

    Thanks Dick - another lead to follow up. No, I've not looked at any MRES files. Are they up at Kew? I assume so if they're under the 'AIR' reference. Do they cover 1942-period losses? Are they properly indexed or is it pot-luck?

    I started off from the 'basic' sources - Squadron, Group, and some Station ORB's; got extra details from the post-raid BC reports and analyses, and most-recently have been looking through the 'WO344' and '208-series of PoW reports for those guys.

    Dave ('alieneyes' above) came up with some excellent details for me about one missing crew, while Rod Mackenzie very kindly gave me some useful details and guidance about the NARA (US) records. The NARA filing and ordering system looks frighteningly complicated (poorly-catalogued, slow, and potentially expensive too) and I'm waiting for a reply from them at the moment to an e-mail query about getting started with ordering copies of documents. It is a bit 'chicken and egg' - I'm a bit nervous about paying for stuff 'blind' without knowing what I'll end up getting, but until I DO do try it out and start using the system I won't know how it all works, what records they've actually got stored there, and precisely what level of information those files contain.

    A trip to Maryland (NARA) would be great, to go and learn the system and see their documents at first hand. ... Now, apart from the minor problem of lack of cash, I wonder how I'd persuade Mrs H that that would be a REALLY neat idea? ......

    :-)

    Thanks again

    Ian

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    Gentlemen,

    As far as I'm aware, MR&ES files are kept in the RAF AHB archive in Hayes, which is closed until the year 2040. Copies may be present in archives in other countries, where these may be accessible (Australia, Canada, USA, and very few in The Netherlands). Copies may also be present in the CWGC archive, which is officially closed too. I would be happy to hear any correction to the statement above.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    hello Rob,

    We had a couple of threads here on this board about the transfer, in the future (near future ?) of the MRES files to TNA, Kew. A series number has already been allocated at Kew for these files. But the AHB and the "authorities" still have to sort out the amount of information they are ready to release. Would they have enough qualified staff to black out the informations that they still think are too sensitive for researchers, or would they transfer the whole lot ? We don't know.

    So far, we have reasons to hope a release of files before 2040... Actually, there'd be so many of them that even a "progressive" release would suit me all right. The PoW questionnaires were made available to the public some 4 years ago or so and I've still not finished covering my research area...

    Joss

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    Thanks, Joss, you are right, and I had forgotten about that. Let's hope that the British shall follow the Australian example. The idea that MR&ES archive material is to be screened prior to release, generates an urgent question about screening criteria. I consider the screening idea to be highly problematic.

    Regards,

    Rob

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    I know some of us have visited this issue off board but a thought occurs.

    Let's take the loss of a 4 engined heavy bomber with a full crew. Our crew is made up of an Australian, two Canadians and four British airmen.

    The way it stands now we can get (if they exist) the MRES and MREU reports from the service files of the Australian and the two Canadians. In my experience in looking at RCAF service files with complete MRES/MREU reports in them, the non-Canadian crewmen and efforts to recover/re-inter their remains are described, sometimes rather graphically.

    Has anybody actually ever approached these British "keepers of the records" with such an example to show them the information is already out there?

    It would be interesting to see what response would be given.

    Personally, I have a fiver which says the Data Protection Act would be invoked.

    Regards,

    Dave

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