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Thread: 23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far East

  1. #21
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    Hi, Carolyn. Each and every one of these seemingly obscure names has a link to present day family, or village, or church, etc. Glad you remembered William Kenneth Fletcher, even with just that sad word, "Missing". Thanks for posting this, and best wishes.

  2. #22
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    Matt,
    do you have any details from O'DONNELL, Pilot Officer, ERNEST WILLIAM, J/86852 service file, it'll be on ancestry.com tho i think you were getting them separately scanned due to missing bits?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

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

  3. #23
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    Hi, Dennis,

    I goofed up...I thought I'd posted a reply last night, but it wasn't there on Thursday morning. Oh well, I'm sure it was my error.

    Thanks for your reminder of O'Donnell's RCAF service file offerings via ancestry.com. I'd moved on to other topics and had forgotten to download these, so I've now accomplished this.

    I don't know any more about O'Donnell and don't have a photo of him; I've been told that typically any photo(s) of the person would have been chosen for scanning, so it is a safe bet that O'Donnell's file does not include an image of him.

    I don't plan on ordering a scan of the entire O'Donnell service file, although there will likely be a gem or two among the many documents which were not scanned and put onto ancestry.com. One day, maybe...

    About 56 individual scans are found in the online O'Donnell file, but his full file held by Library and Archives Canada could well be 200 pages thick. What has been chosen for scanning is great for genealogists and historians, but some very worthy documents, no doubt, were passed over. I'm grateful for what I can see, and I know where to go to find more. I wish the UK government would follow suit!

    For others who may be unfamiliar, the selected subsets of RCAF service records of those who had perished in WWII, held by Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, were scanned and put onto ancestry.com. Maybe one has to join ancestry to access them. The url which works for me, allowing me to access the RCAF service records of a deceased individual is:

    https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/canwwiikia/

    I'm not sure if one has to join (even a temporary free 14-day trial subscription) to be able to view any of these files.

    I just checked out the Canadian Virtual War Memorial to see if anyone had submitted photos/documents relating to O'Donnell, as they have, sometimes, for other casualties. The site:

    https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remem...%20O%27Donnell

    There are photos of the Bomber Command Memorial Wall at Nanton, Alberta, Canada, and O'Donnell's name on this wall. Despite the "Bomber Command" name of this wall, his personnel records indicate that he did not fly with Bomber Command (and he died over Burma).

    This bias towards Bomber Command, unfortunately, is not uncommon...one example of why men who were sent out to the Far East called themselves "The Forgotten Air Force". In fact, that's the name of a book by Air Commodore Henry Probert.

    One of the three photos on O'Donnell's CVWM page is of wording honoring those Canadians who died in the RCAF during the war and who are commemorated by name on the wall. The wording starts out with: "Three thousand miles across a hunted ocean they came, wearing on the shoulder of their tunics the treasured name, 'Canada', telling the world their origin."

    O'Donnell's base in India was a little more than "three thousand miles" across the Atlantic Ocean from Canada.

    Naturally, it is great that he is honored, though it would be nice if a few more people realized that RAF Bomber Command was not the only participant in the air war.

    Again, Dennis, many thanks for reviving my interest in Ernest O'Donnell. I wish I had more details and photos to share with you.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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