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Thread: Wristwatch (Air Force)

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    Default Wristwatch (Air Force)

    The body of an unknown RAF airman was found washed ashore 22-8-1943 by Mr Hermann Neuton PAULSEN near the German Island Pellworm on Süderoogsand. The body could not be identified and buried as an unknown RAF airman 24-8-1943 by Rvd Hansen in Grave 52 of the Alte Kirche Churchyard. On the body was found a wristwatch marked: AM 6B/159, 9267/42. Did the RAF register these watch serials ?
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Henk,
    As a standard issue Air Ministry watch (and this item was issued so far as I know only to Pilots, Observers/Navigators and possibly to Wirless Operators) would have therefore been recorded against the individual concerned on an issue card (probably of flying equipment, I do not know the Form number unfortunately, but definitiley different to the normal one which recorded more general items such as clothing, badges of rank, kit bag, and accoutrements). The purpose of these forms is obvious, as the individual had to sign that he/she had received these items and was expected to take all care to see that they were not damaged or lost by carelessness. As such, the individual had to pay for the item if it was considered that the individual had failed in his/her duty of care. Of course no action would be taken against such individuals if it was lost due to enemy action, but neverthless the serial number of a watch, for instance, would still be recorded against that individual and would remain with their peronal records, as well as on the records of the Equipment Store that issued the item. However I do not expect that many of these records would survive to this day, except the copy on the individual's file (and even that may have been purged years ago). A check of a contemporaneous volume of the Air Ministry Equipment Regulations would no doubt spell out all of these procedures in gruesome detail.
    David D

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    Hi Henk

    I am no expert from my own research into the crash of "my" Sunderland there were two "official" watches found and neither could be identified as to who owned which, yet they knew the names of the crew, what that proves I dont know but it is just an aside. I do know from talking to my step father that often crew on "scramble" often picked up each others Mae Wests and the like.

    Regards
    Dyan

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    Hi Henk,

    David is right. The procedure was exactly as described but the possibility that you will be able to identify the airmen is very low I think. Official records of such type are not existing anymore I suppose and it is improbable that you will find the personal record for the particular killed airman.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Thanks friends for your reaction. 6B/159 probably was the federal stocknumber and 9267/42 year of manufacture and serial number of the watch. I do believe that if the personal files had been available at the time of the exhumation of the mortal remains by a Graves Concentration Unit at Pellworm Island, this would already have been subject for identification.
    Let this airman rest in peace.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Henk,
    Just a small point, but the RAF certainly did not (and never have!) use(d) Federal Stock Numbers! The number you quote for the watch is the Air Ministry Section/reference number, and the other number is as you describe. The RAF's Vocabulary of Stores (AP 1086) lists all such items, under Section 6B (Aircraft equipment), reference number 159. Even with the change over to NATO stock numbers in about 1966 (largely based on the USA system), the RAF still used its traditional format and original Section numbers.
    David D

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    Thanks David. We (Netherlands Air Force) also used the British stocknumber system before the NSN system was introduced. I'm a retired Warrant Offr RNethAF (on the logistics) and retired 1988 after 36 years of service.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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