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About Bodies Washing Ashore

Recovery versus washing ashore, Channel & North Sea marine conditions, The complexity of the ways of Nature, A mathematical approach, A statistical approach, Survey of bodies washing ashore, Map of washed-up body movements, Survey of unknown Allied airman burials, A theory of body behaviour at sea, Future research, Comparison of then and now, The MR&ES input, New tools are available today, From sea to land - the Texel example, Proposed structure of a new MR&ES effort, Prognostica, Other recent identity claims

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1. Introduction

For research into the missing-in-action cases, the coldest of cases, an understanding of the washing ashore of bodies is highly desirable.

The period considered in this study is 22/5/1940-9/5/1945. In this period 226 Dutch aviators flying with the RAF were KIA or went MIA, European theatre only. KIA: 145. MIA: 90. Of these 226, 91 fell at sea, 144 over land. Of the 90 MIA's, 82 were lost at sea, 8 over land. Meaning that the bodies of 9 of the 91 who fell over the sea were recovered; the others were not.

(Editor Note: Rob Philips planned to rewrite parts of this section)

It is thinkable that some of these Dutch RAF aviators bodies washed ashore, and were buried as unknown Allied airmen, or, if not recognized as airmen, as servicemen. To find out about that, we really need to dive into the matter deep. We need:

1. A survey of all burials of bodies that washed ashore,

2. A survey of all airmen or servicemen buried as unknowns, and

3. An understanding of body behaviour in the seas involved.

Such an exercise would be pointless if it was to be expected that sea predators, mainly sharks, would take care of easy meals, as would be the case in many waters in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. In this study we are mainly dealing with the North Sea; the larger sharks are not abundant here. This may be part of the explanation why so many bodies washed ashore in the countries bordering the North Sea, with The Netherlands holding a clear first position in this respect.

The Waddenzee seascape, here at the Frisian Isle of Vlieland, that enabled the washing ashore of hundreds of bodies.

Vlieland 080531-22

There is no survey readily available of the first two items mentioned above. Regarding the second: the CWGC has declared not to have a survey of servicemen buried as unknowns throughout Western Europe. The headstones are there, but they are not recorded in either the CWGC online database or the local cemetery registers. Both required extensive travel & research. Author has tried to come up with such a survey, as well as a survey of the first item. Author has also tried, in ways explained below, to make sense of body behaviour in the seas involved. Truly complicated matter, that has been tackled by few, if any. Author could not find any literature on the subject. Fellow researchers have expressed the opinion that this nut is just too hard to crack. We'll see about that. The exercize may lead to nothing, but that is something that we shall know after we have done the work. Author considers this work worthwhile, already if it would lead to giving a name to a single airman buried as unknown, whether he be Dutch or not. If it is not going to yield such results, then that would be a result too.

2. Recovery versus washing ashore

A distinction should be made between bodies recovered from the sea, and bodies washing ashore. The difference is between direct action by man, and the chance result of forces of Nature.

Bodies were recovered from the sea, usually directly after the accident, by personnel on vessels that were close by. Amongst the Dutch RAF/FAA aviators lost, we have the following cases:

1. J.G. Ras.

2. E. Mataré. Both ditched with a floatplane, 7 mile SSE of St. Govan's Head, Wales, UK. Their bodies were recovered from the floating wreck of their Fokker T-VIIIw by a vessel from the convoy they were escorting. The two other crew of this aircraft remained MIA.

3. R.A.C. Heijne, KIFA at Budden Ness Lighthouse, Scotland, UK, at the North Sea. Aircaft ditched very close to the shore, body was recovered from the wreck.

4. F.C.M. Brogtrop.

5. H.C. de Jager. Navy pilots. They collided and ditched in Lough Foyle, Londonderry, Ire. Navy ships were present at the crash site. Bodies were recovered from the wrecks by the Navy straight away. Lough Foyle is the lake between Londonderry and the open sea.

The others could be recovered as a result of Nature's actions. They washed ashore, or their bodies were coincidentally found floating by fishermen.

3. Channel & North Sea marine conditions

1. The complexity of the ways of Nature

Author has tried to understand more about sea currents, and bodies washing ashore. The subject is highly complicated. Jan Lettens in Belgium helped me. He is a professional North Sea diver with 20 years of experience. He cured me of my uninformed belief that sea currents are always in the same direction. Currents in this area are SW to NE and back, rotating 180 degrees every six hours. Making the washing ashore of bodies a matter of coincidence.

This site shows an animation of the ever changing current pattern:

http://www.mumm.ac.be/EN/Models/Operational/Curren...

This rather explains why most bodies released by aircraft wreck in open sea do not wash ashore. The ever rotating currents keep the bodies captured.

On the other hand. The forest of parameters controlling sea current may be very large, but the phenomena repeats itself over and over again. Therefore, the hypothesis can be improved: if conditions by coincidence happen to be such that a body, released by an aircraft lost at sea, can wash ashore, then it is possible that other bodies released by that same aircraft shall also wash ashore. I believe, until someone shoots a serious hole in this hypothesis, that this applies to Cherbourg harbour.


Graph 11. Channel & North Sea currents that rotate 180 degrees every six hours.


The Channel, with about 30 kilometers the shortest distance between England and the mainland, but nevertheless a serious stretch of sea. Channel 080126-1

Graph 12. Channel & North sea water elevations. The tide rises from Southwest to Northeast.

The tide rising about 7 meters through the day, and from The Channel to the North Sea, is likely to play a part in the marine body transportation system.

2. A systematic approach

Mr. Peter Grimm, board member of the Studiegroep Luchtoorlog 1939-1945 in The Netherlands, introducing a speaker during a meeting on De Peel Airforce Base on 11/11/2006, declared the subject of bodies washing ashore as the most complex one that is engaged by the aviation archaeologists. Even if it is understood that the behaviour of bodies at sea is utterly complex, we shall try to make sense of it.

1. A mathematical approach

The first line of thinking would be as follows: if a body of an airman washes ashore somewhere and at some date and time, and if it is known for how long the body has been at sea, and if marine conditions can be calculated, then this would lead to the approximate place and time at sea where the body was released by the aircraft to the sea. If that place and time can be matched to an aircraft lost there and then, we would know the crew to which the body belongs.

If this line of thinking is to lead anywhere, we need the following:

1. Exact knowledge of the time that the body has been at sea.

This information is not available. Estimating the date and time of death of a body is not hard science, especially if the body has been at sea for weeks or months. Reports on bodies found ashore were usually written by local policemen, who could not and did not deliver data that has forensic value. Even the forensic specialists would only be able to come up with a time range, if time would need to be measured in more than a few days. That range would probably sabotage our mathematical model, if we had one.

2. A mathematical model that spans all marine conditions along the path and the time that the body travelled at sea. This model would consider all current patterns at all places and all times, including zero current spots where bodies might remain for a prolonged period; the local microcurrents and the water temperature that influences the actual current at specific places, times and depths. Furthermore the model would have to include wind drift factors that act upon a body floating at the surface, as well as sea floor surface factors that act upon the travel speed of bodies on the sea floor.

Such a model does not exist. It would be a very large and complicated equasion, and author most certainly is not capable of producing one.

3. Knowledge of whether the body was released to the sea by the aircraft upon impact, or days or weeks later.

This information is also unavailable. The airman may have jumped from the aircraft and he may have entered the water very many miles from the crash site. The aircraft may have disintegrated in the air, leading to the release of some or all bodies to the sea. The aircraft may or may not have disintegrated upon impact with the water, leading to an immediate release of bodies to the sea, or to a much delayed one. All these unknown parameters would greatly influence the outcome of the mathematical model, if we had one.

4. Knowledge of initial body behaviour upon release to the sea.

Bodies may have initially sunk to the bottom, entering into bottom currents that differ greatly from surface currents. Or the bodies may have floated initially, to sink later, or to float again later. Bodies may have been grossly disfigured upon impact, or they may have been dismembered later by the grinding action of the sea floor. What happened to remains found prior to washing ashore shall be more difficult to estimate if the body has been in the water for a longer period. Again, parameters that we cannot know.

Therefore, of the four elements needed for a mathematical approach, we cannot hope to find substance for a single one. Furthermore we have to assume to have not been complete in this survey of parameters. A mathematical approach cannot work, as there are just too many parameters with values that we cannot know. We could allow for the uncertainties, leading to a calculation of probabilities. But again that is not going to lead anywhere, considering the high number of parameters with unknown values, and the broad value ranges that would have to be considered. The result of an equation that gives us say 20 possible scenarios, really tells us nothing. We need a better idea.

This Google Earth assembly of aerial photographs of the Waddenzee illustrates the complexities we run into if we would try to construct a mathematical model for body behaviour at sea. The ever-changing sandbeds in this area successfully resist capture in formulae. But many bodies washed ashore in this area, many coming over very long distances.


Waddencoast at Wierum, Friesland. At the right tide one can walk to the Engelmansplaat, an island between the Isles of Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Many bodies of sea casualties ended their journey on this or a similar coast.

Wierum 070713-5


Waddenee near the Frisian Isle of Ameland. Bodies not only washed ashore along the Dutch shores, but were also found on low tide sand banks in the Waddenee. Ameland 080530-11


Map 139. Map showing the North Sea area with the Dutch, German and Danish Isles, where the bodies of many airmen washed ashore.

The blue dots indicate cemeteries where unknown Allied airmen are buried today. Their numbers have been far higher, before the grave relocations. Those who were initially buried on the German Isles or in German coastal villages, were relocated to concentration cemeteries. The Isle of Texel belongs to the province of Noord-Holland.

2. A statistical approach

We can also study the phenomenon of bodies washing ashore in a statistical way. If we look at the cases in which both the crash site and the identity of the airman who washed ashore are known, then we can expect to find patterns, and their exceptions. If patterns and exceptions would be found under the usual Gaussian curve, then we would be able to work with a 90% probability, and 5% exceptions on both sides of the spectrum. If we cannot have hard science via a mathematical model, then we shall settle for a probability via a statistical model. We no longer look at the multitude of parameters of the phenomenon, but we look at the results of the overly complicated interaction of all those parameters.

In a statistical model we may find that bodies that were released to the sea at location X tend to wash ashore at location Y in Z percent of the cases. And that would give us a calculation of the probability that the body of an unknown airmen that washed ashore, belongs to a certain crew. If that probability is low, we have gained nothing. But if it is high, then we may have found sufficient grounds for a new investigation into the contents of graves of airmen who washed ashore and who were buried as unknowns. It remains to be seen if this second line of thinking can be productive. There is only one way to find out, and that is to assemble a serious amount of relevant data into a database, and see what surfaces. A start for that is undertaken below.

4. Survey of bodies washing ashore

In chronological order by date of death, and as fas as known; data is not claimed to be complete. As the subject is actions of the sea, and as the sea is indiscriminate to rank and country, the data has been expanded towards others than Dutch RAF/FAA aviators. This was done to obtain statistics, although the numerical basis for that is still flimsy. Complex phenomena require large numbers to make statistical sense of it all. Sea distances mentioned are linear approximations. Actual distances travelled by bodies in sea have most likely been substantially larger, due to the ever rotating currents in this area.

The list below is a segment of the full database that is under construction. The list is given as a demonstration of the modus operandi of the statistical approach.

Bodies washing ashore

Distances are linear approximations; body travel distances in sea may have been substantially longer, due to rotating currents

Nr

Rank

Name

(Air)craft

date of death

location of death

date of body recovery

location of recovery

estimated distance, km

time,

days

speed, km/day

source

(Re)buried

From open seas

1

S/Ldr.

Franks, A.L.

Spitfire N3177, 610 Sqn

29/05/1940

North Sea

?

Dutch coast

?

?

?

Sage War Cemetery, G, grave 7/F/15

2

Ac1

Wood, A.

SS Lancastria

17/06/1940

Near St. Nazaire, F

?

Rockanje Beach, NL

1.000

?

?

HW

Rockanje (Zeeweg) General Cemetery, NL, grave 2/jg 34

3

P/O.

Cobden, D.G.

Spitfire R6757, 41 Sqn

11/08/1940

North Sea E of Harwich, GB

23/08/1940

Oostende, B

115

12

10

Oostende New Communal Cemetery, B, grave 9/3/24

4

P/O.

Smith, D.N.E.

Spitfire R6962, 74 Sqn

11/08/1940

North Sea E of Harwich, GB

23/08/1940

Oostende, B

115

13

9

Oostende New Communal Cemetery, B, grave 9/3/22

5

Sgt.

Barker, J.K.

Spitfire R6909, 152 Sqn

04/09/1940

Off Bognor Regis, GB

?

near Etaples, F

150

?

?

Etaples Military Cemetery, F, grave 69/A/5

6

por

Sobieralski, F.

Wellington Mk. 1c Nr. R1443, 304 Sqn

06/05/1941

North Sea 40 km SW of Texel, NL

14/09/1941

Dutch coast near Noordwijk

60

130

0,5

JvA

Noordwijk General Cemetery, NL, grave 3/3

7

plut

Hampel, L.

Wellington Mk. 1c Nr. R1443, 304 Sqn

06/05/1941

North Sea 40 km SW of Texel, NL

?

British coast near Eastbourne, Sussex

400

?

?

JvA

Eastbourne Langney Cemetery, GB

8

st sierz

Żołnowski, W.

Wellington Mk. 1c Nr. R1443, 304 Sqn

06/05/1941

North Sea 40 km SW of Texel, NL

?

British coast near Skegness (?)

270

?

?

JvA

Newark-upon-Trent War Cemetery, GB

Wellington Mk. 1c Nr. R1443, 304 Sqn

06/05/1941

North Sea 40 km SW of Texel, NL

Crew missing:

kpr. r/op. strz. S. Bialek, por. obs. strz. S.F. Duchnicki, kpt. pil. A. Sym

9

S/Ldr

Łapkowski, W.

Spitfire Mk. IIb Nr. 8596, 303 Sqn

02/07/1941

North Sea

?

Near Lombardsijde, B

?

?

?

JvA

Lombardsijde Communal Cemetery, B, grave 224

10

plut. pchor.

Płachta, J.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5463 SM-E, 305 Sqn

17/08/1941

North Sea

30/08/1941

Near Vlissingen, NL

14

?

?

JvA

Vlissingen Noorderbegraafplaats, NL, grave B/11

11

plut.

Majewski, E.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5463 SM-E, 305 Sqn

17/08/1941

North Sea

28/8/1941

Near Haamstede, NL

12

?

?

JvA

Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, NL, grave 20/A/6

12

kpt. nawig.

Miondlikowski, A.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5463 SM-E, 305 Sqn

17/08/1941

North Sea

?

Near Oostende, B

?

?

?

JvA

Oostende New Communal Cemetery, B, grave IX/4/14

13

kpr.

Stankiewicz, S.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5463 SM-E, 305 Sqn

17/08/1941

North Sea

?

Klemskerke, B

?

?

?

JvA

Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, B, grave V/AB/9

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5463 SM-E, 305 Sqn

17/08/1941

North Sea

Crew missing:

plut. S. Przecławski, plut. F. Wardeński

14

Sgt.

Hunter, T.

Whirlwind P7009, 263 Sqn

29/09/1941

5 mls S of Eddystone lighthouse, near Plymouth, GB

10/10/1941

Poldhu Cove, Mullion, Cornwall

50

11

5

PM

Monk Helseden Blackhall Cemetery, Durham, GB, grave L/35

15

szer

Lang, T.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5579 SM-L, 305 Sqn

16/10/1942

North Sea

?

Belgian Coast

?

?

?

JvA

Blankenberge Town cemetery, B. grave 1939-45/A/21

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5579 SM-L, 305 Sqn

16/10/1942

North Sea

Crew missing:

por. nawig. A. Bryk, plut. pchor.strz. J. Hejnowski, sierż, pil. S. Hildebrandt, por. pil. M.B. Kosowski, ppor.obs.strz. J. Łucki

16

P/O.

Williams, A.

Spitfire P7551, 74 Sqn

26/11/1941

20 mls W of St Davids Head, GB

14/12/1941

South Wales

50

19

3

Pembroke Dock Llanion Cemetery, GB, grave T/178

17

strz

Golabeck, B.

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. R1064 NZ-?, 304 Sqn

16/12/1941

North Sea off Belgium

?

Belgian coast

?

?

?

JvA

Middelkerke Communal Cemetery, B, grave A/6

18

kpt

Blazejewski, J.

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. R1064 NZ-?, 304 Sqn

16/12/1941

North Sea off Belgium

?

near Duinkerken, F

?

?

?

JvA

Duinkerken Communal Cemetery, F, grave 2/3/2

19

por

Komlacz, J.

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. R1064 NZ-?, 304 Sqn

16/12/1941

North Sea off Belgium

?

French coast

?

?

?

JvA

Pihen-lès-Guînes, F, grave B/12

20

kapr

Rutkowski, H.

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. R1064 NZ-?, 304 Sqn

16/12/1941

North Sea off Belgium

?

French coast

?

?

?

JvA

Pihen-lès-Guînes, F

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. R1064 NZ-?, 304 Sqn

16/12/1941

North Sea off Belgium

Crew missing:

plut. r/op. strz. K. Suwalski, por. pil. M. Szczodrowski

21

F/Sgt.

Matthews, J.H.G.

Spitfire AD568, 74 Sqn

08/02/1942

Firth of Clyde, GB

?

Stranraer, GB

40

?

?

Stranraer Glebe Cemetery, GB, grave H/1/150

22

por

Zamoyski, Z.F.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1379 GR-J, 301 Sqn

15/4/1942

North Sea off Belgian coast

21/4/1942

Belgian coast

7

?

?

JvA

Oostende New Communal Cemetery, B, grave IX/4/25

23

ppor

Rzemyk, M.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1379 GR-J, 301 Sqn

15/4/1942

North Sea off Belgian coast

13/8/1942

Oostende, B

120

?

?

JvA

Middelkerke Communal Cemetery, B, grave B/24

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1379 GR-J, 301 Sqn

15/4/1942

North Sea off Belgian coast

Crew missing:

st. szer. strz. S. Niewiadomski, plut. r/op. strz. J.P. Truszkowski

24

F/Lt.

Bachurek, S.

Spitfire BL620 (?), 222 Sqn

25/04/1942

Channel off Berck-sur-Mer, F

19/06/1942

De Koog, Texel, NL

400

56

7

Den Burg Cemetery, Texel, NL, grave K/6/122

25

Sgt.

Kothera, Z.

Spitfire W3758, 124 Sqn

27/04/1942

Channel near Lille, F

27/06/1942

Texel beach, NL

300

62

5

Den Burg Cemetery, Texel, NL, grave K/5/115

26

F/Sgt.

Wicker, W.C.

Spitfire BM264, 133 Sqn

27/04/1942

Channel between Dover & Oostende

29/04/1942

Dover beach, GB

30

2

15

Hawkinge Cemetery, GB, grave O/2/56

27

Sgt.

Crawford, J.F.

Spitfire BL711, 132 Sqn

12/05/1942

East of Orkney, GB

?

Blankenberge, B

900

?

?

Blankenberge Town Cemetery, B, grave A/6

28

por pil

Dubas, Z.J.K.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

15/07/1942

Terschelling, NL

22

22

1

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 59

Terschelling West 070729-6

29

kpr strz

Meller, J.A.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

17/07/1942

Nes, Ameland, NL

35

24

1,5

JvA

Nijmegen Jonkerbos, grave VII/J/6

30

plut strz

Twarkowski, Z.Z.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

23/07/1942

Ulrum, NL

80

30

2,7

JvA

Ulrum General Cemetery, NL, grave G/H/7

31

por obs

Michalik, W.S.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

24/7/1942

Schiermonnikoog, NL

65

61

1

JvA

Schiermonnikoog Vredenhof Cemetery, NL,

grave 77

32

kpr

Kapa, K.J.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

24/7/1942

Schiermonnikoog, NL

65

61

1

JvA

Schiermonnikoog Vredenhof Cemetery, NL,

grave 78

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1345 GR-D, 301 Sqn

23/06/1942

North Sea 18 km NW of Terschelling, NL

Crew missing:

None. All crew bodies washed ashore

33

Unknown Polish RAF

24/7/1942

Schiermonnikoog, NL

?

?

?

JvA

Schiermonnikoog Vredenhof Cemetery, NL,

grave 79

34

Group Captain

Skarzynski, S.J.

Wellington Mk. II Nr. Z8528 SM-R, 305 Sqn

26/06/1942

14 mls E of Great Yarmouth, GB

21/07/1942

Terschelling, NL

240

26

9

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 62

Wellington Mk. II Nr. Z8528 SM-R, 305 Sqn

26/06/1942

14 mls E of Great Yarmouth, GB

Crew missing:

None. All other crew rescued

35

Able Seaman

Byast, W.L.

HMLTC 122

19/08/1942

Channel off Dieppe, F

?

Terschelling, NL

530

?

?

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 70

36

Private

Tetreault, R.

R.C.I.C.

19/08/1942

Channel off Dieppe, F

?

Terschelling, NL

530

?

?

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 73

37

Sgt.

Townsend, A.E.

?

19/08/1942

Channel off Dieppe, F

?

Terschelling, NL

530

?

?

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 66

38

Sgt.

Harrison, P.C.

Wellington Mk. III Nr. X3552 JN-?, 150 Sqn

15/10/1942

North Sea off Hoek van Holland, NL

?

Den Haag, NL

15

?

?

JvA

Den Haag Westduin General Cemetery, NL, grave Allied plot/2/37

39

P/O.

Maxfield, F.

Wellington Mk. III Nr. X3552 JN-?, 150 Sqn

15/10/1942

North Sea off Hoek van Holland, NL

?

Ulrum beach, Groningen, NL

240

?

?

JvA

Ulrum General Cemetery De Marne, NL, grave 1/G-H/8

Wellington Mk. III Nr. X3552 JN-?, 150 Sqn

15/10/1942

North Sea off Hoek van Holland, NL

Crew missing:

Sgt. E.N. Smith, P/O. D.L. Hemming, Sgt. P.C. Harrison, F/Sgt. D.L. Morrow RCAF, F/Sgt. P.W.S. Varley

40

Sgt.

Colwill, W.C.

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

about 16/11/1942

Near Cherbourg, F

100

20

5

MS

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/4/12

41

Sgt.

Woodhouse, W.G.

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

about 16/11/1942

Near Cherbourg, F

100

20

5

MS

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/4/11

42

F/Sgt.

Potter, D.K.

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

about 16/11/1942

Near Cherbourg, F

100

20

5

MS

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/4/13

43

Sgt.

Bell, W.

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

?

Near Blonville-sur-Mer, F

230

?

?

CH

Blonville-sur-Mer Churchyard, F

44

Sgt.

Bell, L.H.

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

?

Near Cabourg, F

220

?

?

CH

Cabourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave Mil/&/1

45

F/Sgt.

McCallum

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

?

Near Ouistreham, F

220

?

?

CH

Ouistreham-Riva-Bella Communal Cemetery, F, grave 57

Lancaster Mk. 1 Nr. W4121 EM-B, 207 Sqn

24/10/1942

Off Blainville-sur-Mer, Normandie, F

Crew missing:

F/Sgt. L.R. Wright, F/Sgt. S.D.G. Roberts, Sgt. A.J.V. Hunt RNZAF

46

F/O.

Doucha, J.

Spitfire AR502, 310 Sqn

07/11/1942

Channel near Cherbourg, F

Dec-42

South Wales

650

25

26

Angle St. Mary Churchyard, GB, grave 84

47

Cpl.

Jednaki, J.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1387 BH-Q, 300 Sqn

15/1/1943

Sea off Lorient, F

about 25/3/1943

Cherbourg, F

450

69

7

JvA

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/3

48

P/O.

Żukotyński, S.

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1387 BH-Q, 300 Sqn

15/1/1943

Sea off Lorient, F

about 24/3/1943

Cherbourg, F

450

68

7

JvA

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/2

Wellington Mk. 1V Nr. Z1387 BH-Q, 300 Sqn

Crew missing:

kpr. pil. S. Gosiewski, plut. bomb. strz. H. Imiołek, kpr. r/op. strz. J. Burda

49

F/O.

Brearley, E.

Whirlwind P6995, 263 Sqn

16/04/1943

Channel

?

Swanage, GB

?

?

?

PM

Warmwell Holy Trinity Churchyard, Dorset, GB, grave in South part

50

sierz strz

Bednarski, P.

Halifax Mk. II Nr. DT627 NF-P, 138 Sqn

12/05/1943

Waddenzee off St. Jacobiparochie, NL

01/07/1943

Near St. Jacobiparochie, NL

10?

50

0,2

JvA

St. Jacobiparochie General Cemetery, NL, grave B/44/35

51

sierz

Germasiński, K.

Halifax Mk. II Nr. DT627 NF-P, 138 Sqn

12/05/1943

Waddenzee off St. Jacobiparochie, NL

02/7/1943

Near Anjum, NL

40

51

0,8

JvA

Breda Polish War Cemetery, grave

52

kpt

Polnik, J.

Halifax Mk. II Nr. DT627 NF-P, 138 Sqn

12/05/1943

Waddenzee off St. Jacobiparochie, NL

01/07/1943

Terschelling, NL

8

50

0,2

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 66

53

st sierz

Wojno, B.

Halifax Mk. II Nr. DT627 NF-P, 138 Sqn

12/05/1943

Waddenzee off St. Jacobiparochie, NL

01/07/1943

Terschelling, NL

8

50

0,2

JvA

West Terschelling Cemetery, NL, grave 66

Halifax Mk. II Nr. DT627 NF-P, 138 Sqn

12/05/1943

Waddenzee off St. Jacobiparochie, NL

Crew missing:

Sierż. J. Kurzak, sierż. E. Piątkowski, por. J.H. Polkowski

54

por

Stegman, S.

Spitfire BR143, 316 Sqn

17/06/1943

Channel near Brugge, B

03/08/1943

Oostende, B

47

?

?

JvA

Oostende New Communal Cemetery, B, grave IX/5/20

55

F/Sgt.

Curry, J.H. ?

Spitfire AR609, 165 Sqn

25/07/1943

Channel near Oostende, B

?

Terneuzen, NL

70

?

?

Runnymede panel 136

56

F/Sgt.

Phillips, K.B.

Wellington Mk. X Nr. HE901 AS-?, 166 Sqn

28/8/1943

Sea off Lorient, F

30/9/1943

Querqueville near Cherbourg, F

450

33

14

MS

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/9

Wellington Mk. X Nr. HE901 AS-?, 166 Sqn

Crew missing:

W/O. J.A.C. Newman, Sgt. F. Jackson, Sgt. R.W. Holmes, Sgt. A.R. Harrup

57

F/O.

Holtrop, H.G.

Mosquito Mk. XVII NF30 HK358, 219 Sqn

10/06/1944

North Sea off Clacton-on-Sea, GB

28/06/1944

Colne estuary, GB

20

18

1

Brookwood Military Cemetery, GB, grave 22/D/8

58

Sgt.

Warming, C.S.

Mosquito Mk. XVII NF30 HK358, 219 Sqn

10/06/1944

North Sea off Clacton-on-Sea, GB

28/06/1944

Colne estuary, GB

20

18

1

Brookwood Military Cemetery, GB, grave 22/D/9

Range, min.

8

2

Range, max

1.000

130

Average

6,1

km/day

From confined waters

59

S/Ldr.

Gowers DFC A.W. ?

Typhoon Mk. Ib JP396, 183 Sqn

24/10/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

10/11/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

1

17

0,1

Runnymede panel 118. Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/13 ?

60

F/O.

Mercer, P.T.R. ?

Whirlwind Mk. I P6979, 263 Sqn

24/10/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

10/11/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

1

17

0,1

Runnymede panel 126. Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/14 ?

61

Sgt.

Knaap, C. van der ?

Mitchell B-25C FR174 NO-K, 320 Sqn

28/10/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

10/11/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

0,2

13

0,015

Runnymede panel 133. Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/14 ?

62

Sgt.

Woesik, P.F. van

Mitchell B-25C FR174 NO-K, 320 Sqn

28/10/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

06/11/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

0,2

9

0,022

Cherbourg Communal Cemetery, F, grave 6/5/12. Later reburied Orry-la-Ville, F

Mitchell B-25C FR174 NO-K, 320 Sqn

28/10/1943

Cherbourg Harbour, F

Crew missing:

F/O. A.J. van Dieren Bijvoet, P/O. C. van der Knaap, Cpl. A.G. Apeldoorn

63

plut

Szeliga, M.G.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

22/06/1944

?

?

10

JvA

Elburg General Cemetery, NL, grave A/4

64

ppor

Bakun, W.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

?

Near Urk, NL

25

JvA

Amersfoort Rusthof, NL, grave 13/12/207

65

kpr

Barzdo, R.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

?

Near Urk, NL

25

JvA

Amersfoort Rusthof, NL, grave 13/12/203

66

ppor

Hahn, M.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

?

Near Urk, NL

25

JvA

Amersfoort Rusthof, NL, grave 13/12/206

67

por

Różański, J.W.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

?

Near Urk, NL

25

JvA

Amersfoort Rusthof, NL, grave 13/12/202

68

kapr

Wroblewski, M.

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

?

Near Urk, NL

25

JvA

Amersfoort Rusthof, NL, grave 13/12/204

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. LL807 BH-N or BH-K, 300 Sqn

13/06/1944

IJsselmeer off Wijdenes, NL

Crew missing:

kapr. A. Pacula

69

Res 2Lt

Bockma, J.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

ereveld Loenen, NL, grave B/393

70

F/O.

Bunney, K.R.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Makkum N.H. Church Cemetery, NL, grave O/38

71

Sgt.

Eliot, E.M.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Makkum N.H. Church Cemetery, NL, grave N/32

72

Civilian

Kwint, P.J.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Meppel Communal Cemetery, NL, grave M/66

73

Tijd. Sgt

Verhoef, P.

Hudson FK780 of RAF 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Vianen Communal Cemetery, NL, grave B/119

74

Res 2Lt

Walter, J.A.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Makkum N.H. Church Cemetery, NL, grave N/33

75

Sgt.

Withers, D.J.

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

14/07/1944

IJsselmeer near Makkum, NL

8

8

1,0

Makkum N.H. Church Cemetery, NL, grave O/34

Hudson FK780, 161 Sqn

06/07/1944

IJsselmeer, NL, next to Afsluitdijk, 5km SW of Kornwerderzand

Crew missing: none. The body of the pilot F/Lt. J.W. Menzies DFC was found in 1998, trapped in the wreck

Range, min

0,2

8

Range, max

25

17

Average

0,66

km/day

Sources: JvA = Jos van Alphen, PM = Paul McMillan, HW = Henk Welting, MS = Mickaël Simon, CH = W.R. Chorley. Other sources: CWGC, OGS, IRCC, Norman Franks

Note: The crash of Halifax DT627 on 12/5/1943 in the Waddenzee has not been included in the average body travel speed calculation, as the values of 0,2 to 0,8 km/day indicate that the Waddenzee should be considered as a confined water.

Bodies washing ashore - statistical summary

estimated min. travel distance

estimated max. travel distance

min. travel time

max. travel time

av. travel speed

aircraft

Total of crew involved

crew washed ashore

Country of washup

crew rescued

crew MIA

Bodies found on land

km

km

days

days

km/day

n

n

n

%

NL

B

F

GB

G

DK

N

n

n

n

From open seas

7

1.000

2

130

6,2

86

332

157

47

68

13

23

16

17

19

3

12

163

5

From confined waters

0,2

25

8

129

0,51

8

39

30

77

25

0

4

0

0

0

1

0

9

0

From the Waddenzee

5

40

1

51

1,99

3

20

9

45

9

2

9

0

Total

97

391

196

102

13

27

16

17

19

4

14

181

5

Percent

100

50

4

46

1

Percent

100

52

7

14

8

9

10

2

Table 19. Statistical summary of bodies washing ashore

Map 140. Map of bodies washing ashore from Channel, North Sea & IJsselmeer. North Sea washups.jpg

The numbers refer to the entries in the survey above.

6. Survey of unknown Allied airman burials

There are many thousands of unknown Allied soldiers buried in cemeteries all over the world. Again thousands of these in Europe. The CWGC has declared not to have a survey of these burials. The burials are mentioned by their total number per major CWGC cemetery, but not otherwise listed in the registers kept at the larger Allied War cemeteries. As these burials may include a few of the Dutch RAF aviators who went missing-in-action, we need to try to come to grips with the subject matter. That means, first of all, the production of a survey of all Allied airmen buried as unknowns in Europe. Secondly, these burials need to be given their own history. Where and when was the body found, and which partial identification material, if any, was found. Furthermore, as many of the unknowns that were identified as Allied, could not be identified to their service organisation, Army, Navy or Airforce, we need to include the unknowns with unidentified service in our survey too. That means getting as much data as possible of all burials of all Allied service personnel, whether identified as Airforce or not, but excluding those who were identified as Army or Navy. As we are talking about several thousands of Airforce and unknown service casualties in many hundreds of cemeteries all over Europe, it is clear that this task is a huge one. Author cannot possibly claim to have completed this job for the full 100%. But author hopes to have shown a way to one of the instruments needed to give back their names to some of these unknowns.

Many of the unknown airmen are found to be buried in coastal villages, or reburied in CWGC concentration cemeteries after initial burial in coastal villages. We have no evidence that some of the unknown bodies were repatriated, and by definition there cannot have been family who could express the wish to repatriate the grave of an unknown. In other words, all bodies that were found but that could not be identified, are still where they were buried at the time, or where they are now, if their graves were relocated and not lost in the process.

Most of the bodies involved washed ashore. Of crews who perished on land, and who were found, most received joint graves with all names of the crew members if the remains of individual crew members could not be identified. This is because land crashes could usually, but not always, be associated via time and place of the crash, to Squadron ORB data, and/or later to MR&ES data. In other words, many, but not all, of the servicemen buried as unknown airman were in fact lost at sea, body found in the water, or washed ashore after hours to months after the crash.

If we have that data, then we can try to match it with the data of the airmen bodies known to have washed ashore, via a statistical understanding of body behaviour in sea, to finally come up with possible matches of burials of unknowns with aircraft crashes, and therefore with airmen names, with a calculated probability. If probability is high, then we can notify the proper authorities, and ask for an investigation with modern means, meaning DNA technology. If authorities would decline that, for whatever reason, we have come to the end of our possibilities. But we shall record the proceedings. Future times may be different, and the work done here may become useful, if not now, then later.

As a survey of Allied Airmen buried as unknowns in Europe is not available from the CWGC, and has not been published anywhere else, a list is given in the Appendices under Listings. The list was made by recording such burials wherever these were found. Author claims accuracy, not completeness, but believes the list to be fairly complete. It is also offered as it might help others with their research.

Table 14. Summary of burials in Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery

Summary of burials in Harrogate Stonefall Cemetery, Yorkshire, GB. Most are Airmen, and only one of the 1.018 is unknown. In the CWGC cemeteries of mainland Europe, the percentage of unknowns is very much higher.

Source: CWGC

The total is mentioned by author as 1.018. One of the burials here is H.J. de Haan, a Dutch RAF aviator, who is not listed in the CWGC database or the cemetery record. He died a few months after the period considered in this study.

7. A theory of body behaviour at sea

Map 141. Burials of unknown Allied, non-US, airmen in Western Europe

The map above shows all burial sites of unknown Allied airmen in Europe. Included are all nations that flew with the RAF. Excluded are the US unknown airmen, as their bodies were relocated to concentration cemeteries, or were repatriated. Excluded also are unknown servicemen, that may have been Airforce, but that could not be recognized as such. There is one dot size indicating cemeteries with burials of up to ten unknown airmen. When there are more than ten, the dot size is proportionally larger. All unknown airmen that washed ashore on the German coast were relocated to concentration cemeteries, mainly Sage, Hamburg and Kiel. If we exclude the burial situation in Germany, and if we look at the cemeteries in coastal villages, we see a distribution pattern that tells us something about where bodies washed ashore. The map is indicative only for body washups, as the number of actual washups has been higher by far. We have excluded the casualties from the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, the Army, the sailors, and the civilians whose bodies washed ashore too. We have excluded the Allied airmen that washed up and could be identified. And we have excluded the Allied airmen that washed up and whose graves were relocated to a concentration cemetery away from the coast. Still, a body washup pattern is clearly visible in the map above.

The highest number of washups occurred in The Netherlands. Then follow Northern France, Denmark, Belgium, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden. The map also shows the main geological influences that enabled bodies to wash ashore:

1. The main factor is the shallowness of Channel and North Sea, with depths in the 50 meter area, and hardly anywhere deeper than 200 meters. Author has studied 139 aircraft crashes that took place over the Bay of Biscay.

Table 20. Bodies washing ashore from Bay of Biscay crashes

This demonstrates that bodies do not wash up when lost over the deep of the Bay of Biscay, which rapidly goes down to about 5.800 meters. This would also indicate that bodies, if at all, do not float, at least not for a very long period of time. The condition of the bodies of many of those who washed ashore and who could not be identified, points in the same direction. These bodies very often had lost their extremities. Hands and lower arms first, then heads and legs. We have to assume the work of the abrasive action of the sandy sea bottom in North Sea and Channel.

This deep water theory also applies to the coastal waters of Norway. Many aircraft were lost at sea here, but relatively few bodies washed ashore. To be able to wash ashore, a body would have to enter the water over shallow sea depths close to the coast, or to float there. If over the deep of the Norwegian valley in the North Sea & Atlantic, bodies could not wash ashore. If west of this valley, the Gulf Stream would carry the body out to the depths of the Northern Atlantic Ocean.

2. The second major influence is the Gulf Stream. Although currents in Channel & North Sea rotate 180 degrees every six hours, we must conclude to the overriding influence of the Gulf Stream, the direction of which coincides with the body delivery pattern in the map above. This also explains why bodies that entered the water close to the British North Sea coast, would wash up on the Dutch coast.

3. A third influence would be the prevailing southwesterly winds in this area. This influence would only act on bodies that floated, and for as long as that happened.

There are exceptions to these general movements of bodies. Casualties from Channel crashes close to France have washed up on shores in southern England. Author assumes, but still needs to study in more detail, that these cases can be explained by the combination of long body floatation time and the action of the wind during the period of body travel.

4. Washing up occurs more readily on sandy beaches with shallow slopes, or in a seascape in which sand plates fall dry during low tide.

Table 21. Bodies washing ashore from crashes in the Store Baelt, DK

In semi-confined and shallow seas such as the Store Baelt in Denmark, with depths of up to 10 meters only, bodies are far more likely to wash ashore. Furthermore, bodies are far more likely to be found in the water.

5. A final and equally important factor is the fact that North Sea & Channel do not hold large predators. In Pacific waters the larger sharks would see to it that bodies were entirely consumed in the food chain in a matter of hours only.

Author believes that body floatation is a complicated subject. We cannot assume that bodies have floated all the time. We cannot assume the opposite either. Bodies may have sunk, when the casualty was not wearing a functional life vest. Bodies may have surfaced again, in a certain stage of the body decomposition process. Bodies may have sunk after that. Perhaps we can assume that bodies, when at sea for months, spend most of the time near the sea bottom. Many bodies, that had been at sea for months, were torso's only. The head and the extremeties had gone. We assume the grinding action of the sandy bottom of Channel & North Sea. Sharp objects on the sea floor, such as oysters in shallow water, would probably speed up the disfiguration process.

Sharp objects on the sea floor, such as these oyster shells, would speed up the body disfiguration process.

Oosterschelde 080624-1

8. Conclusions

Many thousands of airmen and sailors were lost in North Sea and Channel during World War Two. The information found so far indicates that a small percentage of the bodies of airmen lost at sea washed up in this area. It is assumed that bodies, if not disintegrated upon impact, are held by either the wreck of the vessel or aircraft, or more likely by the ever-rotating currents until there is nothing left to wash up. Or the bodies are washed out to the deep of the Atlantic Ocean West of Norway. The table shows some of the exceptions. The travel speed of a body can be up to 26 km per day in areas with strong currents. This is when linear distances are calculated. The actual distances travelled can be much longer. On the other hand, bodies in protected waters tend to travel at low to very low speed.

The depths of Channel and North Sea are up to 50 meters only, and the seabed is relatively flat. That may be factors that help explain why some of the bodies washed up at all.

Cherbourg Harbour and IJsselmeer have depths of less than 10 meters in most places. These waters are confined, meaning that there are no strong and ever changing currents. The obvious conclusion is that, under such circumstances, bodies can wash ashore, or be found floating, more easily.

CWGC Field of Honour West Terschelling, where three servicemen are buried whose bodies travelled hundreds of kilometers through the North Sea West Terschelling 060702-

6. Future research

1. Comparison of then and now

A main topic of research into the subject of MIA research in the future shall remain the search for documents in archives that remained inaccessible at the time of writing. Such documents, in as far as these exist, may yield more than a few surprises.

1. The MR&ES input

The input with which the Missing Research & Enquiry Service had to work was as follows:

1. Squadron Operational Record Books and crew debriefing reports, that held information about the loss of an aircraft as observed from the air. The geographical information in these reports proved to be quite inaccurate in many cases. The results of that are still present in much of the dedicated literature produced today.

After the liberation of an area, the MR&ES could start to collect evidence in the field:

2. Grave Registration Units were send out to find crash sites and field graves and graves in local cemeteries. Basic autopsies were made at the spot, if at all possible.

3. Wreck details such as serial numbers on guns and engine parts, if found at all, were recorded and cross referenced with production lists of aircraft and armament manufacturers.

4. Grave Concentration Units would remove field graves to concentration cemetery, producing grave evacuation documents in the process. These documents could also obtain autopsy details.

5. Local eyewitness evidence was collected, by talking to local citizens, officials, priests and cemetery keepers.

6. German documents were collected, in as far as these were found. This included "Totenliste" and claim reports from the Luftwaffe and the Flak Abteilungen.

7. Local Police reports were collected, a process made easier if the local Police forces had copied their reports to the Red Cross. The reports send to the Red Cross may have contained material evidence that was not confiscated by the Germans.

8. All Mayors of all cities were asked to produce reports about all burials in their areas.

9. Allied prisoners of War were interviewed to obtain eyewitness accounts of crash situations in which they had been involved.

10. Debriefings were used from those who had crashed in enemy territory, and who had managed to evade captivity.

11. German prisoners of War were interviewed, to obtain their knowledge as eyewitnesses of crash & burial situations.

12. Service numbers found on ID disks were cross-referenced with a "phone book" matching all service numbers to names of individuals. This job was not helped at all by the German habit to remove both ID disks from the bodies, and to make this evidence disappear thereafter in many cases.

13. Personal details of casualties, as found in Personal Record Sheets, were added to the files. Dental and other medical records may have been added too, if at all available. Medical, including dental, record keeping was not as well developed then as it is today, and the US were ahead of the others in this field.

14. Unidentified casualties were exhumed for a second attempt at identification if the first one, on GRU/GCU level, had failed. The chances of doing better than during the first attempt may be considered as low, due to the ongoing process of evidence decay, but the MR&ES had more information available, and could take more time to obtain additional information. This validated these second attempts. In any case, they tried and did the very best they could.

15. Everything had to be done over language barriers, that would add to the complexities, and that could add mistakes and misunderstandings.

Therefore it is fair to say that the MR&ES looked for information everywhere, and used it. Author feels that this tremendous effort has only occsionally been properly recognized in literature.

All this had to be done using communication technology that was available at the time. There were phones and telexes, but not the lightning fast global communications that we enjoy today. These were basically the typewriter and carbon paper days. There were no electronic databases, with which information could be conveniently cross-referenced, let alone that such databases were linked via networks that would later enable investigators to do database research from virtually any place on Earth and at all times.

2. The MR&ES throughput

All the information mentioned above was processed by the MR&ES, to result in an identification verdict, or the conclusion that identifiction was not possible. This processing was done using logics as the main tool, commonly summarized as the logical process of elimination. To put this MR&ES effort into more perspective: the MR&ES was not only faced with a most laborious process of evidence collection, but also with the process of data evaluation. All scraps of information would be added to a casualty file, and to make sense of that, it was required that the case officer had that data fully in his brain, so that the logical process of elimination could take place at all.

3. The MR&ES output

MR&ES input and throughput led to output: an identification, or the verdict that identification was impossible. Results had to be communicated, to official levels, which was relatively easy as this followed prescribed channels and methods. Results also had to be communicated to families of casualties, and there was no textbook detailing how to go about that. The MR&ES reports directed at families, seen by this author, all clearly show the effort given to write in a most sensible way. It cannot be overestimated how difficult that must have been, especially as the job repeated itself. This is another aspect of the work of the MR&ES, that could have done with some more recognition in literature. To the families, the amount of information received in this way, and certainly the contents of that information, may very well have been disappointing. The above hopes to have demonstrated that the MR&ES did what it could, given the means at its disposal, and the time made available to do the job. It would be easy to say today, with the benefit of hindsight and knowledge about new tools, that the MR&ES could have done more. That would be true of any human activity on any level and for any individual and any social group or nation. Therefore this would be saying nothing that adds anything to anything. It would be better to try and do better today, if we see fit to do so. That's what the next Chapter is about.

4. New tools are available today

The past two decades have brought technological advances, that would have been fully embraced by the MR&ES, had these existed earlier:

1. Computer based databases

2. That can be accessed worldwide via the Internet

3. Lightning fast supercheap global communication technology

4. That also enables to find eyewitness evidence that could otherwise hardly have been found

5. Software that enables to produce data matches in data pools of sizes that are way beyond the data storage capability of the brain of an individual

6. DNA technology, that offers the virtually watertight tool for identification.

The first five technological advances lead to data cross-references that can be done in seconds rather than in weeks as in the typewriter & surface mail days. These advances come together in machines available to the public today. Author's already antiquated laptop, using a 20 Gigabyte internal and 160 Gigabyte external harddisk memory, could easily hold all information available to the CWGC, OGS, NIOD, and similar institutions, and that would include all MR&ES documents, if these were digitized, and all software needed to make sense of this data, and on top of that many thousands of high definition photographs. For instance, the NIOD data about more than 25.000 Dutch War casualties is held in an 18 Megabyte Excel spreadsheet. This data can be condensed to 3 Megabyte, for electronic transportation in seconds via the World Wide Web. Finding a name in such a database usually takes seconds only.

In the Subchapters below, and earlier in the Chapter about the Van Dieren Bijvoet crew loss, a demonstration is given how such technological advances can be put to good use today, using scraps of information collected with difficulties comparable to those faced by the MR&ES in the past. The difficulties nowadays do not arise from enemy activity, but from data sources that are kept very difficult to access, or even inaccessible, to the public.

DNA technology is another matter. It is available on institutional levels, it is getting faster, better and cheaper all the time, and it is being commonly used in crime investigations. As stated before, the use of this technology is not allowed by the Ministry of Defence when it comes to the MIA cases of the past.

Even without this decisive tool, things can still be achieved, as I believe to have demonstrated below. Definitely not for all unknowns, but probably for a significant number. Author would be happy to do much more than presented in this study, if only my laptop could be loaded with the data mentioned above. Using digital photography to copy the MR&ES reports of the about 2.000 airmen buried as unknowns in Western Europe, this should not be an impossible task. Say two weeks in the archive. The rest would be a matter of clever archiving on harddisk, and creativity as well as perseverance to let the machine produce data matches that can be found today as they could hardly be found in the past. In short, I am calling for a re-evaluation of MR&ES data regarding the unknowns, using technology available even to the public today, aimed at identifying unknowns that could not be identified with the technology of the past. The magic of modern technology creates new possibilities to resolve some of these coldest of cases.

2. From sea to land - the Texel example

1. Introduction

Very many Allied airmen were lost in the seas of Western Europe. They are commonly considered as missing-in-action permanently. On the other hand, the sea has given back a sizeable number of bodies of airmen. Holland is the country with the highest density of airmen body washups. Of these, again a sizeable number was buried at the time as unknown. A small proportion was identified after the Liberation, the others remained unknown.

Is the case of these unknowns a hopeless one? Obviously the Missing Research & Enquiry Service has closed these cases over fifty years ago as unsolvable. So why would we hope to achieve anything at all?

The argument is that we now have access to more data, and we have better tools than did the MR&ES fifty years ago. Even private individuals can nowadays build their own highly specialized databases, that allow searching for matches. We have lighting fast communications via the Web. We even have the decisive tool of DNA technology, but the British and the Dutch shy away from using it.

We shall present our case by giving an example, a small study that demonstrates that efforts to give back names to servicemen buried as unknowns can still yield results. The example is the Isle of Texel, the first of the Frisian isles off the Dutch shore. On Texel, 1939 to 1945, the bodies of 83 Allied airmen washed up. 57 could be identified, 11 of these after the War. The other 26 remained unknown. There could be missing Dutch RAF aviators amongst these. To find out we need to study all available data. As it turned out, the study did yield identity claims that could be submitted to the Ministry of Defence. No Dutch RAF candidates found so far for graves of unknown airmen buried in Texel. Even so, we like to believe that the results achieved are meaningful. Identifying others, and thereby reducing the number of graves of unknown airmen somewhat, does narrow down the search area.

This little study benefits greatly from the following:

1. The availability of the Texel Den Burg Cemetery register.

2. The fact that the cemetery staff was more meticulous than in other places when it came to note time, place and condition of bodies that washed up on Texel's shore.

3. The work of Bram van Dijk, a North Sea fishermen, who devoted a good section of his life studying the aviators that are buried in Texel Den Burg. He has caught many wreck parts in his nets, and he became fascinated to know more. He published 'Hun leven voor ons leven', re-edited under the same title in 'Verzamelde werken ter gelegenheid van 60 jaar bevrijding', Texel, 2005.

Bram van Dijk's work gives brief biographies of the known aviators involved, and the circumstances of their crashes, as far as known. He does not deal with the subject of the unknowns, so that's tried below.

Map 142. Airmen body washups on the Isle of Texel

The map shows where the bodies of airmen washed up, which were identified and which not, and the grave numbers in Texel Den Burg Cemetery. The map makes it clear that bodies could wash up almost everywhere. Waddenzee casualties washed up at the dykes area in the East, but one washed up at the dunes area in the West. Most bodies coming from the North Sea washed up at the dunes beach, but many were delivered by the currents to the opposite side of the island.


Texel 081011 strp29-1


On this part of the West Texel shore, from beach pole 28 to 31 near the lighthouse on the Northern tip of the island, the bodies of nine Allied airmen washed ashore. Three of these remained unidentified. Texel 081011 strp28-7


Texel CWGC 060421-3

In a bid to identify some of the unknowns, we have the following routes:

1. Studying the cemetery register for any clues that did not make sense then but that could make sense now.

2. Matching cemetery entries with occurrences in the area.

3. Matching washup data with body behaviour at sea, and with losses that occurred in the seas.

1. and 2. can be done now; for 3. we are not nearly ready, and we may never be. We shall try 1. and 2. below.

2. Making sense of available data

First of all, we need to survey all available data, try to find the discrepancies, and if any, resolve these somehow, so as to make sense of it all. Things can be quite puzzling. If we compare the Wartime Den Burg Cemetery register with the 2007 CWGC register and with the actual (July 2007) burial situation in Den Burg, we find the following:

Post-War changes

After the War, some graves in Row 4 were relocated, as follows:

Grave 77, P/O. S.D. Steel RNZAF, was renumbered in 76A, headstone with the name of F/Lt. E.A. Barsby.

Grave 78, F/O. H.G. Handley RCAF, was relocated to grave 84, now renumbered in 82.

Grave 78 was renumbered as 76B. The headstone now carries the name of Sgt. J.H. Knight.

Grave 79, F/Lt. E.A. Barsby, was relocated to grave 77.

Grave 79 was renumbered in 77, headstone with the name of Sgt. V. Sature RCAF.

Grave 80, unknown RAF found 14/07/1943, was relocated to grave 83, now renumbered as 81.

Grave 81, Sgt. V. Sature RCAF, was relocated to grave 79.

Grave 81 was renumbered in 79, headstone now carries the name of F/Sgt. E. Warburton RCAF.

Grave 82, unknown USAAF, was relocated to Strassbourg on 19/11/1946. The grave position was renumbered as 80.

Grave 83, Sgt. C.A. Tracey, was renumbered as 81.

All other grave numbers in row four were renumbered as old number minus 2. That left the rest of the Texel Den Burg grave numbering system intact.

These relocations brought together the five men crew of Whitley Z9141, in what the CWGC calls a joint grave.

Three of the five were identified, and are mentioned in the Wartime cemetery register: Barsby, Sature & Steel.

Data deviations, excluding post-War identifications

Texel grave Nr. Headstone text Texel Register CWGC Register

After the Row 4 changes

K/2/28 Gunner J.H. New RA id. Grave K/2/2

K/2/42 Sgt. G.W. Smith RAF identified after the War Grave K/2/44

K/2/44 Sgt. A.D. West RAF identified after the War Grave K/2/42

K/3/56 Unknown RAF F/O. 8/6/1943 Vermoedelijk P/O. Gordon RAF Not registered

K/4/86 Unknown RAF 6/7/1943 Unknown RCAF 6/7/1943 Not registered

K/4/87 Unknown Soldier 22/10/1941 Unknown Victim 22/10/1941 Not registered

K/4/90 Unknown Soldier 29/6/1943 Unknown Royal Navy 28/6/1943 Not registered

K/4/94 Unknown Soldier 20/5/1943 Unknown Sailor 19/5/1943 Not registered

K/4/96 Unknown Soldier 11/5/1943 Unknown Sailor 11/5/1943 Not registered

K/5/97 Unknown Soldier Unknown matroos timmerman Not registered

K/5/98 Unknown Soldier Unknown Sailor Not registered

K/6/123 Unknown RAF Sgt. Vermoedelijk Sgt. Black RAF Not registered

K/6/126 Unknown Soldier Unknown Royal Navy Not registered

K/7/168 Unknown Soldier Unknown Royal Navy Not registered

K/8/179 Unknown Soldier Unknown RAF Not registered

K/8/181 Unknown RAF Sgt. Unknown RAF Not registered

K/8/186 Unknown RAF 8/7/1945 Vermoedelijk Scott RAF 15/11/1944 reburied 10/6/1945 Not registered

K/8/187 Unknown RAF 6/2/1944 Unknown RAF 14/1/1944 reburied 20/10/1946 Not registered

Table 22. Data deviations between the Texel Cemetery Register and CWGC data

This means that the CWGC deviates from the Wartime Dutch data, by means of headstone texts, in eleven cases:

K/3/56, considered a P/O. by the Dutch, became a F/O.

K/4/86, considered RCAF by the Dutch, became RAF.

K/8/181, considered RAF by the Dutch, became a RAF Sgt.

The eight others were recognized by the Dutch as either RAF or Allied Navy. These men all became unknown soldiers without mention of their service group, even if the Dutch were quite specific, as in 'matroos timmerman', 'sailor carpenter'. In the light of this, we shall follow the Dutch Wartime data rather than the post-War CWGC data reductions. Those that were recognized by the Dutch as RAF or RCAF, shall be considered to be Allied airmen.

3. Name entries in the cemetery register

Four names are mentioned in the register, that are not found in the CWGC database of Texel Den Burg. The exact entries are given below in italics.

1. F/O. Gordon, RAF

The cemetery register states 'Vermoedelijk P/O. Gordon, RAF', washed up 8/6/1943 at Oudeschild, buried the same day in grave K/3/56.

The unknown RAF airmen, assumed to be P/O. Gordon in the cemetery register, has become an unknown F/O. on the headstone. Texel K3-56 unkn RAF FO 8-6-1943

In the period July 1942 to 8/6/1943 the RAF lost three airmen with the surname of Gordon to the sea. We assume that Gordon is indeed a surname. Two could be dismissed as possible candidates; one remained. The data was transferred to an identity claim application template, in which the facts are stated, the claim made, and the claim proceedings recorded.


Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Texel Den Burg, grave 56

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF F/O. 08-06-1943

Identity claimed

F/O. Peter Maxwell Gordon-Crosby, RAF, Nr. 126594

Date of MIA

19-04-1943

Place of MIA

North Sea 15 km West of Bergen aan Zee, NL

Autopsy details

Washed ashore Oudeschild, Texel, NL, 08-06-1943. Noted in cemetery register as 'vermoedelijk P/O. Gordon, RAF' ('vermoedelijk' = 'probably')

Candidates

Criteria: RAF F/O & surname Gordon & missing at sea in the period July 1942 to 08-06-1943

1

F/Sgt. Ian Stanley Gordon, RAAF Nr. 408807, 235 Sqn, age 28, missing 01-05-1943, Runnymede Panel 192, Son of Stanley Gordon, and of Mary Anne Gordon, of Parkville West, Victoria, Australia. Mentioned in despatches.

Squadron

235 Sqn

Aircraft

Beaufighter Mk. VIc Nr. JL874, shot down by FW190's into the North Sea near Norway coast, Stavanger area

Evaluation

Does not qualify: 1. Aircraft that crashed off the Norwegian coast did not produce bodies that washed up in The Netherlands. 2. Rank does not match.

2

F/O. Peter Maxwell Gordon-Crosby, pilot, RAF Nr. 126594, 2 Sqn, age 28, MIA 19-04-1943, Runnymede Panel 124, Son of Frederick and Marjorie Gordon-Crosby; husband of Odette Gordon-Crosby, of Castle Rising, Norfolk.

Squadron

2 Sqn

Aircraft

Mustang Mk. I Nr. AG464, lost over the North Sea 15 km W of Bergen aan Zee. No. 2 Sqn flew P-40 Tomahawk and North American P-51 Mustang fitted with the F-42 Camera's. The Squadron continued in England flying low level reconnaissance over France and the Low Countries until D-day.

Evaluation

Qualifies

3

Sgt. Albert John Gordon, RAF VR Nr. 1376471, 214 FMS Squadron, age 29, MIA 04-04-1943, Runnymede Panel 151. Son of Albert Edward and Ellen Louise Gordon; husband of Gladys Amy Gordon, of Greenford, Middlesex.

Squadron

214 FMS Sqn

Aircraft

Stirling Mk. I Nr. W7621 BU-G, 214 Sqn, raid on Kiel, airborne 04-04-1943 20.21h, lost 23.30h in the Dobersdorfer See, directly East of Kiel, cause unknown, enemy action presumed.

Other crew

Sgt. K.R. Burton DFM MIA

Sgt. J.H. Strathearn MIA

Sgt. G.H.J. Cash MIA

Sgt. H.M. Parsons MIA

Sgt. E. McGloin MIA

Sgt. J.Broderick KIA; tailgunner. Came down and died 23.30h, 300 meter South of Schlesen, Germany, now buried Kiel War Cemetery.

Evaluation

Does not qualify: 1. Crashed in a German lake; cannot have washed up on Texel. 2. Rank does not match

Problem

Name seen can be a first name rather than a surname

Summary

Only one candidate remains: F/O. P.M. Gordon-Crosby

Evidence, File

Contents

Texel register 10.jpg

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register stating name Gordon

www.cwgc.org

CWGC Casualty Register

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

15-06-2008 to JCCC

Status

Reception confirmed 24-06-2008

Identity claim sheet 4. F/O. P.M. Gordon-Crosby - submitted


2. Cocke, RAF Nr. 1078942

The register states 'Cocke RAF 1078942, washed up 21/6/1942 between Oudeschild and 't Horntje, buried the same day in grave K/5/117.

Texel K5-117 unkn RAF 21-6-1942

A RAF serviceman by the name of 'Cocke' is not present in the CWGC database, but Cooke is. This name gives 361 hits in the CWGC Airforce section of the Second World War. From this list, a fitting time period was selected, those that remained missing at sea were selected, and these were evaluated regarding the likelyhood of their body washing up on Texel.

Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Texel Den Burg, grave 117

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF 21-06-1942

Identity claimed

Cooke, RAF

Autopsy details

Washed ashore 21-06-1942 between Oudeschild and 't Horntje, Texel. In cemetery register as Cocke, RAF, Nr. 1078942

Note 1

The CWGC database holds no-one by the name of Cocke. However, there are three candidates with the name Cooke, period 1941-6/1942, but there is no match with the service number in the cemetery register.

Note 2

RAF service numbers 965000 to 1149977 were issued Sep 1939 at Padgate

Candidates

Criteria: RAF & surname Cocke/Cooke & missing at sea in the period of max. 11 months prior to 21-06-1942

1

Sgt. William Leslie Cooke, Wop/Ag, 9 Sqn, RAF VR 1199261, missing 09-03-1942, Runnymede Panel 80

Aircraft

Aircraft: Wellington Mk. III Nr. X3411 from RAF Honington, raid on Essen. Airborne 00.28h 09-03-1942. Ditched in the North Sea.

Other crew

2. Sgt. R.J.T. Lovell, pilot, MIA

3. P/O. T.W.W. Woodford, Cp, MIA

4. Sgt. W.H. Bowers, Fg/Ba, MIA

5. Sgt. D.W. Peacey, Ag, MIA

6. P/O. R.P. Hoult, Obs, Injured. Retrieved from the water by a trawler after 33 hours. Set ashore at Lowestoft.

Evaluation

Qualifies

2

Sgt. Reginald Cooke, Ag, 104 Sqn, RAF VR 913706, missing 15-01-1942, Runnymede Panel 80

Aircraft

Wellington Mk. II Nr. W5417 EP-F, from RAF Driffield, raid on Emden. Airborne 18.38h 15-01-1942 from RAF Driffield. Lost without trace.

Other crew

2. Sgt. B.A. Adams, pilot, MIA

3. Sgt. C.K. German, Cp, MIA

4. P/O. R.G. Lindsay RNZAF, Obs, MIA

5. Sgt. R.P.H. Sperring, Wop/Ag/Ba, MIA

6. Sgt. W.G. Tate, Wop/Ag, MIA

Evaluation

Qualifies

3

Sgt. Ronald Llewellyn Cooke, 99 Sqn, RAF VR 968394, missing 15-11-1941, Runnymede Panel 41

Aircraft

Wellington Mk. Ic Nr. L7873, from RAF Waterbeach, 17.20h. Raid on Emden, Lost without trace.

Other crew

2. F/Sgt. T.C.B. Patterson RNZAF, MIA

3. Sgt. D.E. Hall, MIA

4. Sgt. L.R. Townsend, MIA

5. Sgt. B.J. Dermody RCAF, MIA

6. Sgt. W.A. McAllen RAAF, MIA

Evaluation

Qualifies

Notes

The servicenumber should have led to instant identification after the War. It did not. There may be something wrong with this number, or the person is not registered by the CWGC. No matches were found for Cock, Cocke, Cook, Cooke and any spelling deviation from the number 1078942

Summary

Three qualifying candidates for one grave. More information is needed.

Evidence, File

Contents

Texel register 6.jpg

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register stating name Cocke

www.cwgc.org

CWGC Casualty Register

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

No

Status

Under preparation

Identity claim sheet 5. Cooke, RAF - under preparation

The analysis yields three candidates for this grave in Texel. Obviously more information is needed, before this can become a claim that can be submitted.

3. Sgt. Black, RAF

The register states 'Vermoedelijk Sgt. Black RAF', washed up 18/6/1942 09.00h at De Slufter, buried the same day, grave K/6/123. He was wearing a lifejacket with the number 127607/40.

Texel K6-123 unkn RAF Sgt 18-6-1942

The name Black is very common, so this case did not look too promising. But in the final analysis we were left with only one candidate that qualifies.


Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Texel Den Burg, grave K/6/123

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF 18-06-1942

Identity claimed

F/Sgt. Robert Hammond Black, RAF VR Nr. 755913

Autopsy details

Washed up 18-06-1942 at De Slufter, Texel, 09.00h. Noted in cemetery register as Sgt. Black, RAF. Life jacket nr. 127607/40

Candidates

Criteria: Commonwealth Sgt. or F/Sgt & missing at sea in a period of max. 11 months prior to 18-06-1942

1

F/Sgt. Robert Hammond Black, Wop/Ag, 420 RCAF Sqn, RAF VR Nr. 755913, missing 12/13-04-1942, Runnymede Panel 73

Aircraft

Hampden P1239 PT-Y. Airborne 12-04-1942 from RAF Waddington; raid on Essen. Aircraft lost without a trace; probably the Hampden claimed by Hptm Helmut Lent, 11./NJG2, 00.32h on 13-04-1942 North Sea North of Terschelling, Frisian Islands.

Other crew

2. F/Sgt. Ronald Johnson, pilot; MIA

3. Sgt. Cyril J.E. Butler, Obs; MIA

4. Sgt. Japhet Salmon, Wop/Ag; MIA

Notes

Son of William Hammond Black and Annie Black, of Edinburgh; husband of Violet Black, of Juniper Green, Edinburgh.

Evaluation

Qualifies

2

P/O. Archibald William Black, RAF VR Nr. 102081, 91 Sqn, missing 17-11-1941, Runnymede Panel 31.

Aircraft

Spitfire, probably lost in The Channel.

Evaluation

Does not qualify: 1. Body identification after seven months in The Channel & North Sea is highly unlikely. 2. Body travel time av. Channel to Texel would typically be two months, not seven. 3. Rank does not match.

3

Sgt. Harris Black, pilot, RAF Nr. 923087, 10 Sqn, missing 08-07-1941, Runnymede Panel 39.

Aircraft

Whitley Mk. V Nr. Z6816. Raid on Osnabruck. Crashed 08-07-1941 04.45h in the North Sea, off Flamborough Head, Yorkshire. 4 crew, 4 MIA.

Evaluation

Does not qualify: Body identification after 11 months in the North Sea is highly unlikely.

4

Sgt. Foster Wilson Black, Wop/Ag, RAF Nr. 983869, 44 Sqn, missing 08-07-1941, Runnymede Panel 39.

Aircraft

Hampden Mk. I Nr. AE153. Raid on Hamm marshalling yards, Germany. Crashed probably in the North Sea. 4 crew, 4 MIA. The body of Sgt. F.W. Black was found at sea 18-08-1941, and given back to the sea after identification.

Evaluation

Does not qualify: Body identification after 11 months in the North Sea is highly unlikely.

Summary

Only one Black, known to the CWGC, qualifies in the period of 09-07-1941 to 18-06-1942: F/Sgt. R.H. Black

Evidence, File

Contents

Texel register 6.jpg

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register stating name Sgt. Black, RAF

www.cwgc.org

CWGC Casualty Register

Channel washups.xls

Survey of washups from Channel crashes

Ameland doc 30a, 30b, 31a & 31b.jpg

Ameland Police autopsy reports summarized in Channel washups.xls

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

15-06-2008 to JCCC

Status

Reception confirmed 24-06-2008

Identity claim sheet 6. F/Sgt. R.H. Black - submitted

4. Scott, RAF

The register states 'Vermoedelijk Scott RAF', washed up 15/11/1944 between beach poles 27 and 28, reburied 10/6/1945 in grave K/8/186.


Texel grave K/8/186, an unknown RAF airman, but the date of 08/07/1945 does not match the data in the cemetery register. This would indicate that either some of the data is in error, or that the unknown buried here on 10/06/1945 has been identified and has been reburied elsewhere, after which another unknown RAF airman has been buried in this location. The cemetery register holds no evidence supporting the second assumption. Below we proceed on the assumption that the Den Burg register data is correct. Texel K8-186 unkn RAF 8-7-1945


Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Texel Den Burg, grave 186

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF 08-07-1945

Identity claimed

Scott, RAF

Autopsy details

Washed ashore 15-11-1944, km pole 27-28. Noted as 'Scott' in the register. Buried 10-06-1945 in grave 186

Candidates

Criteria: RAF & surname Scott & missing at sea in the period of max. 11 months prior to 15-11-1944

1

P/O. Raymond David Scott, RCAF J/91113, 49 Sqn, missing 6-10-1944, Runnymede Panel 252

Aircraft

Lancaster Mk. III Nr. PB353 EA-E, raid on Bremen. Airborne 06-10-1944 17.24h from RAF Fiskerton. Presumed lost over the Baltic.

Evaluation

Does not qualify - aircraft lost over the Baltic Sea did not produce bodies that washed ashore in Holland.

2

F/Sgt. Jack Kyle Scott, RCAF R/210098, 166 Sqn, missing 23-09-1944, Runnymede Panel 255

Aircraft

Lancaster Mk. I Nr. ME829 AS-G. Raid on Neuss. Airborne 23-09-1944 18.40h from RAF Kirmington. Crashed 23.05h at the intersection of Uhlandstrasse and Schumanstrasse in Düsseldorf.

Evaluation

Does not qualify - aircraft was not lost at sea

3

F/O. Albert Scott, RAF VR 157536, 166 Sqn, missing 27-08-1944, Runnymede Panel 209

Aircraft

Lancaster Mk. III Nr. LM652 AS-R. Airborne 26-08-1944 20.35h from RAF Kirmington. Minelaying in the Danziger Bucht. Crashed in the Kattegat.

Evaluation

Does not qualify - aircraft lost over the Kattegat could produce bodies that washed ashore in Denmark or Norway, not Holland.

4

F/Sgt. Walter William Scott, RAF VR 1333285, 248 Sqn, missing 21-07-1944, Runnymede Panel 222

Aircraft

Mosquito FB Mk. VI Nr. HP973, from RAF Portreath, lost over The Channel. The Mosquito of F/S J. Blackburn was shot down by return fire from a He 111 and crashed into the sea off the French island of Ushant.

Other crew

2. F/Sgt. John Blackburn, RAF Nr. 1509443, MIA

Evaluation

Qualifies

5

F/Sgt. Donald Stewart Scott, RCAF R/70157, 162 Sqn, missing 24-06-1944, Runnymede Panel 255

Aircraft

Aircraft: Canso A Nr. CA9754, from RAF Wick, lost to U-Boot fire over the North Atlantic in the Iceland area.

Evaluation

Does not qualify - aircraft lost over the North Atlantic did not produce bodies that washed ashore in Holland.

6

F/Lt. Bertram Eric Scott, RAF VR 120135, 547 Sqn, missing 18-06-1944, Runnymede Panel 203

Aircraft

Aircraft: Liberator GR Mk. VI Nr. EV897, airborne 18-06-1944 11.50h from RAF St. Eval, lost to AA-fire from a German destroyer, in The Channel, near Ile de Batz, North of Roscoff, Finistère, France.

Other crew

F/O. (P) James W. Hermiston RCAF, Nr. J17585 - MIA, Runnymede Panel (RP) 246

F/O. Henry Blenkinsop, RAF Nr. 154190 - MIA, RP204

W/O² (Wop/Ag) Arthur C. Lornson RCAF Nr. R163639 - MIA, RP254

F/Sgt. David T. Davidson, RAF Nr. 1025522 - MIA, RP217

Sgt. Charles E. Judge, RAF Nr. 1899263 - MIA, RP232

F/O. (CP) Frank W. McD. Stout RNZAF, Nr. NZ429376 - KIA, fished from the sea near Roscoff, buried Roscoff Communal Cemetery, France.

F/O. (Wop/Ag) Donald Wilson, RAF, Nr. 54036 - KIA, buried Bayeux War Cemetery, Finistère, France.

Sgt. (Fe) A.A. Inglis, RAF, Nr. 1678502 - fished from the sea near Roscoff, POW in Stalag Luft Bankau

Sgt. (Wop/Ag) R.S. Smart, RCAF Nr. R170560 - fished from the sea near Roscoff, POW in Stalag Luft Bankau

Evaluation

Qualifies

7

F/O. George Edward Scott, RCAF J/20850, 612 Sqn, missing 25-05-1944, Runnymede Panel 248

Aircraft

Wellington Mk. XIV Nr. HF187, airborne from RAF Chivenor, anti-submarine patrol, lost over the Bay of Biscay. All six crew MIA.

Evaluation

Does not qualify - aircraft lost over the Bay of Biscay did not produce bodies that washed ashore in Holland.

Notes

Summary

Two qualifying candidates for one grave. More information is needed.

Evidence, File

Contents

Texel register 2.jpg

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register stating name Scott

www.cwgc.org

CWGC Casualty Register

Bay of Biscay washups.xls

Survey of washups from all crashes found over the Bay of Biscay

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

No

Status

Under preparation

We have seven names, of which two qualify. Again, we now need more information, such as the MR&ES reports about investigations of these graves, if done, looking for any clues that could help.

So far this exercize, that was done entirely from the office, has led to a number of possible candidates for the four graves, and twice for one grave only one candidate. These two cases were reported in claim form to the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre of the Ministry of Defence.

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register page. Two names, Cocke and Sgt. Black, both identified as RAF, do not reappear in the CWGC register of the cemetery. Their graves, 117 and 123, are still marked as 'unknown RAF' and 'unknown RAF Sergeant'. For the unknown noted as 'Sgt. Black' in the register, we could find single candidate. This identity has been claimed.

4. Matching cemetery register entries with occurrences in the area

These cases are more complicated than the individual cases discussed in the Chapter above. A template that structures proceedings in these matters still needs to be produced.

1. Four unknowns with the same date

There are four graves of unknown airmen in Texel Den Burg, all marked 17/4/1945 as date of body washup. All were recognized as RAF, and one as a sergeant. It is remarkable that four bodies washed up on the same day. It indicates a crash at sea that took place quite close to the shore of Texel. We have identified the following aircraft as candidates for that crash. Aircraft that crashed in seas near Texel within 12 days of 17/4/1945. The period of twelve days was calculated as the maximum sea travel time for crashes that took place quite close to Texel.

A. Lancaster PB704 TC-R, 170 Sqn, lost 9/10 April 1945. Airborne 19.32h 9/4/1945 from RAF Hemswell for a raid on Kiel. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. F/Sgt. R.H.A. Thorpe MIA; F/Sgt. H.V. Blakey MIA; F/O. J. Wotherspoon MIA; Sgt. F.W.R. Goodenough MIA; Sgt A.A. Jarvis MIA; Sgt. R.J. Harford MIA; Sgt. L.A. Hill MIA.

B. Lancaster LM177 PM-Z, 103 Sqn, lost 4/5 April 1945. Airborne 19.20h 4/4/1945 from RAF Elsham Wolds for a raid in the Kattegat (Silverthorne Region). Lost without trace. They are all commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. F/O. L. Hole RAAF MIA; Sgt. E. Kelly MIA; F/Sgt. C.J. Hodge RAAF MIA; F/Sgt. S.A. Jeffrey RAAF MIA; F/Sgt S.D. Pearce RAAF MIA; F/O. V.L. Valentine RAAF MIA; F/Sgt. E.F. Shannon RAAF MIA.

C. Lancaster NX563 P4-R, 153 Sqn, lost 4/5 April 1945. Airborne 19.07h 4/4/1945 from RAF Scampton for a mining operation in the Kattegat (Silverthorne Area). Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Believed to be shot down over the Kattegat by Major Werner Husemann of 1./NJG3. F/Lt. A.J. Winder MIA; Sgt. G.E. Thomas MIA; F/O. L.C. Turner MIA; F/O. E.O. Griffith MIA; F/Sgt. J.B. Coffey MIA; F/O. A.S. Blake MIA; Sgt. I.A. Birrell MIA.

D. Lancaster RA544 P4-U, 153 Sqn, lost 4/5 April 1945. Airborne 19.03h 4/4/1945 from RAF Scampton for a gardening mission. Lost without trace. All are commemorated.on the Runnymede Memorial. Believed to be shot down over the Kattegat by Major Werner Husemann of 1./NJG3. W/C. F.S. Powley DFC AFC MIA; Sgt. C.F. Sadler MIA; F/Sgt. L.G. Sims MIA; F/Sgt. W. Higgins MIA; W/O. A.S. Dickson RAAF MIA; F/Sgt. C. Madden MIA; F/Sgt. R. Neal MIA.

B, C & D are believed to be shot down over the Kattegat aera. Bodies from these aircraft could wash up in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but washing up on Texel is highly unlikely. That leaves us with only one aircraft, Lancaster PB704. Bodies washing up eight days after the crash. With that we have seven candidates for the four graves. That's not good enough, but it is a step in the right direction.

2. Three unknowns with about the same date

Texel Den Burg holds the following three graves:

No. 141, Unknown RAF, washed up 10/01/1945 near Paal 14.

No. 142, Unknown RAF Officer, washed up 14/01/1945 near Westerslag.

No. 187, Unknown RAF, washed up 14/01/1945 near Westerslag.

Bram van Dijk has noted a possible connection of graves 142 and 187 with the loss of Lancaster ND421 on 14/01/1945 near Westerslag. However, the full crew of this aircraft is accounted for. Five are buried in Den Burg, two were taken POW. It is possible that Lancaster ND421 carried an unregistered passenger, such as a photographer, but it is unlikely that it would have carried two of such passengers. Therefore, and in connection with grave 141, we may need to look for another candidate aircraft, with at least three MIA's, lost in this area on 10/01/1945 or the two weeks prior to that date. We offer the following candidates:

A. Lancaster PB894, 630 Sqn. Airborne 16.20h 31/12/1944 from RAF East Kirkby for mining operations in the Kattegat (Undergrowth region). Lost without trace. W/O. E.A. Thomas MIA; Sgt. D.D. Jones MIA; F/Sgt. W.H. McD Marshall MIA; F/Sgt. E. Leese MIA; F/Sgt. J.H. Jones MIA; Sgt. B.J. Phillips MIA; Sgt. G.R. Boden MIA.

B. Lancaster PB637, 103 Sqn. Airborne 16.07h 06/01/1945 from RAF Elsham Wold, setting course for the Baltic on a mining operation. Lost without trace. F/O. C. Pearton MIA; Sgt. D. Fell MIA; W/O. S.E. Abrams MIA; P/O. H.J. Hutcheson RAAF MIA; W/O. W.E. Burcher RAAF MIA; Sgt. G. Williams MIA; Sgt. C.H. Palmer MIA.

C. Lancaster NF939, 622 Sqn. Airborne 16.08h 06/01/1944 from RAF Mildenhall and set course for Danzig Bay (Privet region). Lost without trace. F/O. E.S. Francis RAAF MIA; Sgt. R.C. Soanes MIA; F/Sgt. A.D. Steeden MIA; F/Sgt. G.R. Traylen MIA; F/Sgt. W. Kelly MIA; F/Sgt. W. McRae MIA; F/Sgt. P.A. Christie MIA.

This brings us 21 candidates for three graves.

Many aircraft wreck parts were found and brought in by fishermen. Most were sold as scrap metal, with no administration of the details of the finds. In this way, a lot of sea archaeological data from the WW2 airwar was lost. Texel 081011 Juttersmuseum-1


Texel 081011 Juttersmuseum-4


5. Summary

1. Following the notes in the cemetery register, we have found:

A. One candidate for grave 56; the identity claim has been submitted.

B. Three candidates for grave 117; more information is needed.

C. One candidate for grave 123; the identity claim has been submitted.

D. Two candidates for grave 186; more information is needed.

2. Matching register entries with occurrences in the area, we have found:

A. Seven candidates for four graves.

B. 21 candidates for three graves.

With this, and after the relevant MR&ES reports have been found and studied, further claims may become possible for graves 117 and 186. We like to believe that this would be a useful result of a small study that was done entirely from the office. It gives focus and direction to a search in the MR&ES archive, held by the CWGC. This might yield more data, that might lead to the identification of one or more of the other candidates mentioned above.

Texel 070727 Strandpaal-3


3. From land to sea

Field research for pinpointing crash sites shall rapidly become pointless, as crash eyewitnesses can, in a few years, no longer be expected to be alive. The number of as yet unpinpointed crash sites, that can be discovered without the help of crash eyewitnesses, is to be considered very low. WW2 aircraft wrecks may yet be found, but then more as the chance results of urban expansion.

Therefore, the other main topic should be WW2 aircraft archaeology at sea. The intention cannot be to disturb sea graves, and should be to find these. Author believes the piety argument to be valid, but not when it is used to cover up lack of knowledge of the whereabouts of these sea graves. Such research may even succeed in bringing home the remains of a few Dutch RAF airmen that went missing-in-action over sea.

4. Proposed structure of a new MR&ES effort

In the searches described above, author was seriously handicapped by inaccessible data, kept locked away from the public. This data is being held in the following archives:

1. The CWGC archive, holding the GRU, GCU & MR&ES archives, placed by the British Ministry of Defence into the care of the CWGC.

2. The RAF Air Historical Branch archive, holding the Casualty Files, that hold part of the MR&ES archive.

3. The RAF Personnel Management Agency archive, holding service records and other information about RAF personnel.

4. Keele University, holding the aerial photographs taken by the RAF during WW2.

These archives are closed to the public. Data from RAF PMA can be obtained, if one can prove a family relationship with a lost servicemen. Data from the CWGC and the Casualty Files is occasionally obtained on the basis of benevolence. Keele University seems overwhelmed by the task of managing the enormous amount of aerial photographs. Even official parties such as the BID find it difficult to obtain data from this archive.

The way to produce the last details from these archives is via the MoD, via an identity claim submission. The MoD has the authority to raise such data. This however means that even tiny scraps of information take over a year to produce. Surely there are efficiency matters to be considered here, by offices much higher than the MoD work desks that mean very well, but appear to be greatly understaffed.

The dossiers in these archives, in as far as they exist, cannot be called complete. Data produced by others should have been collected by the MR&ES, and added to the dossier. But not all data has been found by, or was accessible to, the MR&ES in the period of its activity. Especially the archives in formerly occupied areas, most of which have their own accessibility problems, have relevant data to add to dossiers.

5. The Red Cross archives, containing copies of local reports about unidentified men found. In The Netherlands unfortunately the Red Cross War archive was lost entirely in the bombing of the Bezuidenhout, The Hague, March 3rd, 1945.

6. The cemetery burial registers. Usually not too difficult to obtain. The data in these varies in levels of detail.

7. The oral archive. Many crash eyewitness accounts have been collected by historians, and published in books. New eyewitness accounts may still be obtained, but the period for that is coming to an end.

8. The geographical and geological archives, including the archaeological one. Many crash sites remain to be discovered and explored. As stated before, it is estimated that the soil of The Netherlands still contains the wrecks of 2.000 aircraft, of which about 400 are assumed to contain remains of the crew. The same is probably true, with different numbers, for Germany and for other nations that were occupied during World War 2, especially the nations in Western Europe that saw high activity in the air.

At the time, the MR&ES sought to find out all, using all data sources. A most remarkable effort, especially when considering that our digital data processing and transmission technology was not yet available.

Today, efforts aimed at finding back missing servicemen are given on an ad hoc basis, as a crash or grave site is found, and/or as urban expansion requires that WW2 archaeology goes to work, with safety from unexploded ordinance as the driving motive, and/or as historians succeed in achieving results in the field of their specialisation.

If there would be a will to do so, then such ad hoc efforts could be transformed into a systematic one. As was done by the MR&ES sixty years ago, but now using the technology available today. A parallel can be drawn with the work of detecting of and dealing with unexploded ordinance. In Dutch: Opsporen Conventionele Explosieven (OCE). This work can be seen as done in three stages:

1. Historical investigations, leading to search data.

2. Field investigations, using magnetometry and similar techniques, leading to the discovery of the objects of search.

3. Field actions, leading to the uncovery and proper processing of the objects of search.

When considering historical investigations as the first step, we are talking about an ad hoc dossier filling on the largest possible scale. Data from all sources would flow into one large digital database. There would be two main records in this database. One holding all information about all crashes. One holding all information about all casualties. Clever software then makes it possible to find data matches that were not seen before. The first main record would produce, as an example, all aircraft lost in a certain area and period, with a few mouseclicks. The second main record would produce, as an example, all RCAF airmen lost in a certain period and area. The resulting two lists would then be compared, hopefully leading to data matches. These data matches lead to identity claims of servicemen buried as unknowns, and finally to the re-establishment of their identities. On a scale that was within reach, given available time, ressources, and the data inaccessibility handicap mentioned above, this is exactly what author has done. This method has, in a period of two years, led to an estimated 20% of the work load placed upon JCCC. I believe that this demonstrates the effectiveness of the method, even if used on a scale that was limited to what can be done by a private individual.

This proposed structure for a new MR&ES effort has its problems. Surely the amount of data to be processed is such that this requires a major effort, that is quite possibly beyond the capabilities of a single person. Data would have to be structured in a way that allows data matches to be made. Such a structure would have to be rather perfect in advance, as restructuring becomes increasingly time-consuming as the data bulk grows. As it stands, most or all of the data in the closed archives mentioned above, is not digitized. Digitalization is the key to data processing aimed at finding matches. Digitizing documents brings its own sphere of problems, coming from the time involved in the process, from optical character reading software that produces errors when the type- or handwriting in original documents deviates too much from programmed standards, and more. Photographic evidence can easily be digitized, but finding matches in that evidence remains a "manual" job. We are not dealing with a relatively simple system such as fingerprint recognition, that allows full automation.

Continuing the parallel with OCE work, discovery techniques continue to develop. We have seen the development from the basic magnetometer to the computerized, GPS-linked systems of today. Regarding MIA research, development is possible too. The current pages reflect quite a bit of effort that went into trying to make sense of body behaviour at sea, 'washupology'. A subject that has not produced any literature that author could find. The new insights produced in that way flow into the data analysis strategies, again leading to data matches that could not be seen without that knowledge. There are likely to be other fields useful for MIA research, that may see more development too.

Below a sketch is offered of the proposed MIA Research Database. Both Sgt-Maj Geert Jonker of the BID KL and Kapt Ing Paul Petersen, Stafofficier Vliegtuigberging KLu, were asked to check the field action section of the structure offered below. Sgt-Maj Jonker responded on 25-08-2008 with a correction, that resulted from confusion about BID KL (grave & human identification services only) and aircraft identification, which is the field of Kapt Ing Petersen. The latter did not respond.

Figure 19. Proposed MIA Research Database structure MIA Database Structure 1.jpg

The fields that are not labelled with a designated authority tag, are open to research by any-one, although that may currently be more theory than practice with some of the data fields mentioned here.

Not all of the knowledge fields are needed in all cases, but it can't hurt if the invstigator has a working knowledge of all of the fields.

If the MIA research is directed at aircraft wrecks, then the Historical Casework Section is enhanced with the following Salvage & Identification Action Section. There are no new suggestions here. This part represents the current practice, at least in The Netherlands. It is offered so as to complete the picture of what it takes to mount a salvage & identification operation.

This action part is fully dependent on the Historical Casework Section. Next to that, it brings in several fields of highly specialized know-how, such as anatomy and munitions technology, beyond the level of a working know-how.


Figure 20. Salvage & Identification Field Work Section structure MIA Database Structure 2.jpg

In other countries, the official actors shall be different, but the structure shall basically be the same.

5. Prognostica

As stated before, the Runnymede Memorial carries the names of 20.346 Commonwealth airmen who remained missing-in-action.

Source: CWGC

Names of other Allied nationalities are included, but in an incomplete and haphazard way. Out of 90 Dutch RAF aviators who went MIA, 13 are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Polish RAF aviators who went MIA are entirely absent. A very rough estimation would be that about 22.000 Allied, non-US, World War 2 airmen are still missing-in-action, in Western Europe only.

In this document we have described leads to the graves of two Dutch RAF aviators that are missing: Jan Plesman and Cornelis van der Knaap. As collateral findings, we have found leads to the graves of several other RAF aviators, see the Chapter on the Van Dieren Bijvoet crash, and the survey in the next Subchapter. We have found what happened to N.W. Rowell, who went MIA on the same day and in the same area as Govert Steen. Unfortunately, Rowell's field grave has been lost. Furthermore, the efforts led to a German pilot found, who was MIA too. And we are not done yet.

Plesman and Van der Knaap are two out of 90 Dutch RAF aviators who went MIA, or 2,2%. If we would transpose that to the estimated total of 22.000 Allied, non-US aviators lost, then the means employed in this study could potentially yield leads to the graves of almost 500 airmen buried as unknowns, or still buried within the wreck of their aircraft. If we would declare the collateral findings to be a systematic result, then the number could rise to 1.500. If of course time and means would be available.

Surely the statistical basis for the statement above is very flimsy indeed. Author shall not change the overly optimistic tone of the statement, as it serves a purpose. Author sees sufficient ground for the statement that research into the missing should continue, as results can still be achieved, and as results could add up to a very significant number. The key tools are:

1. The will to do so,

2. Access to relevant archives, and

3. International cooperation.

Efforts would benefit greatly from a much better and faster responsiveness of Government agencies in the countries involved. And/or by making all relevant documents easily available, preferably online, which is what the Australian Government is doing.

7. Other recent identity claims

As collateral findings, or as a result of the work of others, more identity claims could be made, or are under preparation. The inclusion of these into this study serves the purposes of crossing out these graves as potential resting places of Dutch RAF aviators that are missing, and of encouraging others to engage upon this work. Claims already mentioned in the previous Chapter about Texel are not included below. A few of the similar cases, in which an identity claim for the grave of an unknown RAF aviator came from private quarters, and was granted, are mentioned in Vol. 5, Appendix 7.

1. Types of claims

1. The ideal claim is the one with which the identity of an unknown can be claimed.

2. The claim can also be directed at the identity of a casualty buried under the wrong name.

3. As either type 1 or 2 may not be possible, then a third type has been developed, claiming that a casualty buried as unknown belongs to a certain crew, and requesting that a Special Memorial be erected to reflect this. In this way, and when granted, a partial identity is made visible, which is better than none.

The third type effectually doubles as a method to raise, via the MoD, information from the archives that would otherwise remain closed. This information may lead to additional research, and the combination of classified information and additional research may lead to the formulation of a claim type 1. Surely this is not the most time-effective strategy, but it operates within the boundaries of current ruling.

The third type is employed only when the claim can be made into a very good one, and/or when it serves to clear the mystery of an aircraft that vanished without a trace. The method could be used to raise much more classified information, but author recommends to use the technique in such a way that the MoD can be of the opinion that it serves a purpose to which the MoD can subscribe, rather than merely increase the work load.

2. Claims submitted to the MoD


Case ID

Not known

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Ameland (Nes) General, grave 13/6

Text on headstone

Unknown Airman, Polish Forces, a Porucznik, no date

Identity claimed

ppor. pil. Stefan Tomicki, PAF Nr. P-1916

Date of MIA

08-04-1943

Place of MIA

North Sea 20 km W of IJmuiden, 23.07h

Autopsy details

Body washed ashore near Hollum 03-07-1943. Labels with 'POLAND' on sleeves. Two ribbons on left breast pocket, blue-white-blue (or bluegreen-white-bluegreen) and red-white-red

Squadron

300 (Polish) Sqn Bomber Command

Aircraft

Wellington Mk. X Nr. HE148 BH-T, take off 21.40h from RAF Hemswell.

Other crew

2. kpr.bomb. (Sgt.) T.W.Z. Kniazycki, PAF, MIA. Possibly buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/6 or Ameland Nes grave 13/5. Claim under preparation.

3. kpr. r/op. strz. (Sgt.) W. Marczuk, PAF, MIA. Possibly buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/6 or Ameland Nes grave 13/5. Claim under preparation.

4. ppor. nawig. (P/O.) J. Rudek, PAF; washed ashore Castricum 10-04-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/5

5. kpr. strz. (Sgt.) S. Stepien, PAF; washed ashore Castricum 10-04-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/7

6. kpr. pil. (Sgt.) S. Slusarski, PAF; washed ashore Bergen N-H 10-05-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/16

Notes

Jos: produce clear evidence that no other ppor. with these decorations was lost in the North Sea or Waddenee in the period 03-01-1943 to 03-07-1943

Summary

Only one ppor. distinguished with these two decorations was lost at sea in the six months prior to 03-07-1943: ppor. pil. S. Tomicki

Evidence, File

Contents

nieuwe.versie.pdf

Ameland autopsy reports dated 03-07-1943 and 05-07-1943

Translation of the above

Pictures of applicable Polish decoration ribbons

Applicable loss literature as stated

Claimed by

Jos van Alpen & Gerlof Molenaar

Claim submitted

June 2006 to CWGC

Status

June 2008: no response yet

Advice by RPh

Re-apply in clear claim form, separating this case from those of Kniazycki & Marczuk.

Identity claim sheet 7. Ppor. pil. S. Tomicki, PAF - submitted


Case ID

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Kampen (IJsselmuiden) General Cemetery, grave 7/13

Text on headstone

Unknown RNZAF 08-07-1943

Identity claimed

F/Sgt. Clifford J. Whitelaw, RNZAF Nr. 416188, Runnymede 199

Date of MIA

26-06-1943

Place of MIA

IJsselmeer, NL, 20 km East of Edam

Autopsy details

Body, identified as RNZAF, washed ashore Kampen 08-07-1943

Candidates

Criteria: RNZAF & missing in the IJsselmeer, period 08-08-1942- to 08-07-1943

1

F/Sgt. Clifford J. Whitelaw, RNZAF Nr. 416188, Runnymede 199

Aircraft

Stirling Mk. III Nr. BK768, 75 Sqn, from RAF Newmarket, 25-06-1943 23.35h. Shot down into the IJsselmeer, 20 km East of Edam, 26-06-1943 02.00h by III./NJG1, Oblt August Geiger

Other crew

2. F/O. William R. Perrott, RNZAF Nr. 416155, washed ashore Urk, 29-06-1943, identified later, reburied Amsterdam Ooster

3. Sgt. William W. Hilditch, RAF Nr. 611325, MIA, Runnymede 153

4. F/Sgt. Gordon D. Thomson, RNZAF Nr. 42317, found in the IJsselmeer 04-07-1943, buried 05-07-1943 Harderwijk

5. Sgt. Charles C. Mould, RAF Nr. 1314162, MIA, Runnymede 160

6. Sgt. Gordon W. Colyer, RAF Nr. 1809432, washed ashore 07-07-1943 Urk, reburied Amsterdam Ooster

7. Sgt. Harry Squire, RAF Nr. 1302829, washed ashore 07-07-1943 Urk, reburied Amsterdam Ooster

Evaluation

Qualifies

2

Sgt. James L. Richards, RNZAF Nr. 404946, Runnymede 199

Aircraft

Stirling Mk. III Nr. EH889, 75 Sqn, from RAF Newmarket, 22-06-1943 23.48h. Shot down into the IJsselmeer 3 km East of Oosterland 23-06-1943 02.26h by 11./NJG1, Fw Heinz Vinke

Other crew

2. F/Lt. Thomas F. McCrorie, RAF Nr. 68770, washed ashore and buried Molkwerum 05-07-1943

3. Sgt. Eric Grainger, RAF Nr. 625045, MIA, Runnymede 151

4. P/O. William Stuckey, RAF Nr. 51042, found 24-07-1943 in the IJsselmeer near Ferwoude, buried Makkum

5. W/O2 Robert E. Todd, RCAF Nr. R91742, washed ashore 06-07-1943 Medemblik and buried there

6. W/O2 Richard D. Todd, RCAF Nr. R91741, washed ashore 06-07-1943 Andijk-Oost and buried there, reburied Medemblik

7. Sgt. Raymond A. Kennedy, RAF Nr. 1003148, washed ashore Middenmeer and buried there

Evaluation

Does not qualify - washup patterns do not match

Note 1

No other RNZAF aviators remained missing in the IJsselmeer in the 12 months preceding the RNZAF washup near Kampen. In the entire 1940-1945 period, only one other RNZAF remained MIA in this lake.

Note 2

The crash areas are outside the area that would become a polder after the War. The wrecks have not been salvaged; human remains were not found at later dates.

Note 3

Body washup AND identification, to service or otherwise, after 12 months after the crash is not seen in this area.

Summary

One candidate only

Evidence, File

Contents

MIA's IJsselmeer.doc

Survey of all Allied aviators MIA in the IJsselmeer

IJsselmeer RNZAF MIA's.jpg

Map of the EH889 & BK768 crashes and washups

Burials of unknown RNZAF in NL.xls

List of RNZAF MIA's buried in The Netherlands

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

23-6-2008 to JCCC

Status

Reception confirmed 24-06-2008

Identity claim sheet 8. F/Sgt. C.J. Whitelaw RNZAF - submitted

Map 143. Map showing RNZAF aviators missing in the IJsselmeer

Two RNZAF aviators are missing in the 12 months prior to the RNZAF body washup near Kampen. This map was used as evidence in the identity claim application for the unknown buried in Kampen (IJsselmuiden) General Cemetery, grave 7/13.


Case ID

69

Country

England

Cemetery & grave

Brookwood Military Cemetery, RAF Plot, row 22A

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF Squadron Leader, 23-08-1942

Identity claimed

S/Ldr. Th.N.Ch. Burrough, RAF VR Nr. 84274

Date of MIA

31-01-1942

Place of MIA

Channel 50 miles South of Plymouth

Autopsy details

Squadron

61 Squadron

Aircraft

Manchester Mk. I Nr. L7396

Other crew

8 crew, 7 MIA, one washed ashore on the Scilly Isles

Notes

Mission to shipping in Brest, France

Summary

The evidence file mentioned below details three other candidates for this grave. This claim is made on the assumption that the body buried in Brookwood washed ashore on the South England coast. As I do not have access to MR&ES data, I cannot verify this. This claim has been made to request the MoD to perform this verification. If the body did indeed wash ashore on the South England coast, then S/Ldr. Burroughs is the only candidate. If not, then this claim shall be retracted, or modified as a function of MoD verification results.

Evidence, File

Contents

RAF SLdr's MIA 1942-2.xls


All RAF (VR) S/Ldrs's MIA in Western Europe in 1942, with crash site details, and evaluations of their suitability as candidates for the grave in Brookwood.

Claimed by

Rob Philips

Claim submitted

21-07-2008 to JCCC

Status

Reception ack'd 22-07-2008

Identity claim sheet 9. S/Ldr. T.N.C. Burrough, RAF VR - submitted


Case ID

68

Country

Denmark

Cemetery & grave

Lemvig Cemetery, grave 732

Text on headstone

F/O. J.W. Millar RCAF 08-02-1943

Note

Lemvig Cem register: Body washed ashore in the area, badly decomposed, a torso only. Buried 09-02-1943, grave 804, later relocated to 732. F/O. J.W. Millar was lost to the North Sea during a mission to Lorient, France, and cannot have washed ashore at Lemvig only hours after the crash.

Aircraft

Lancaster ED309, 44 Sqn, take-off from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, on 07-02-1943, mission to Lorient, France

Other crew

6, all MIA

Identity claimed

Sgt. Millard, Donald Albert - Nr. R90451 - RCAF - Runnymede Panel 105

Date of MIA

26-06-1942

Place of MIA

Lost at sea during a mission to Bremen

Aircraft

Wellington X9980 from Nr. 22 OTU, from RAF Wellesbourne Mountford/Warwickshire - take-off 25-06-1942 22.29h

Other crew

4, all MIA

Notes

Summary

IF RCAF is true AND IF the name Millar is true, THEN Sgt. D.A. Millard is the only candidate for this grave in Lemvig

Evidence, File

Contents

Millar burial in Lemvig.rtf

Evidence file based on CWGC data

Lancaster ED309 mission.jpg

Map showing the possible crash area of Lancaster ED309, with F/O. J.W. Millar, whose name is on the headstone in Lemvig

Claimed by

RPh

Claim submitted

21-07-2008 to JCCC

Status

Reception ack'd 22-07-2008

Identity claim sheet 10. Sgt. D.A. Millard, RCAF - submitted

Map 144. Map showing that F/O. J.W. Millar RCAF cannot have washed ashore in Lemvig the day after the crash. Lancaster ED309 mission

The following claim is a partial identity claim, seeking recognition of four unknown airmen as crewmembers of a certain aircraft. The claim doubles as the instrument to raise information from archives that would otherwise remain closed.


Case ID

Country

Germany

Cemetery & graves

Hannover War Cemetery, graves 1D10, 1D11, 1D12, 1D14

Text on headstones

All four headstones: "An airman of the 1939-1945 war - 22nd September 1943"

Identities claimed

Member of the crew of Halifax LK 635

Date of MIA

22-23/09/1943

Place of MIA

Unknown

Autopsy details

Not available

Squadron

428 Sqn RAF

Aircraft

Halifax Mk. V Nr. LK 635 NA-H

Other crew

Seven crew, all MIA

Notes

The aircraft was lost without a trace during a raid to Hannover

Summary

Assuming that the date mentioned on the four headstones is the date of death, and that these four casualties, buried next to each other, were found at one and the same crash site, then there is one and only one RAF aircraft, lost during the nights of 21 to 22 or 22 to 23 September 1943, that qualifies as the aircraft that produced these losses: Halifax LK 635.

Evidence, File

Contents

LK635.doc

Database with all RAF aircraft & crew losses during the nights of 21 to 22 or 22 to 23 September 1943

Hannover 080703 2D10 unkn Airman 22-09-1943.jpg to 2D14

Pictures of the headstones

Claimed by

Nick Brown, UK; Steve Ilsemann, Germany & Rob Philips, NL

Claim submitted

20-08-2008

Request #1

On the basis of the evidence submitted, we request you to allow and ask the CWGC to add the following text to these four headstones: "Member of the crew of Halifax LK 635"

Request #2

Should your records, that are inaccessible to us, demonstrate that the date mentioned is not the date of death, then we would like to be informed about the true meaning of that date.

Request #3

In your evaluation of this claim we request that it be reflected where and in what circumstances the four bodies were found.

Status

Identity claim sheet 11. Four crew members of Halifax LK635 - submitted

Details of aircraft and crew:

Halifax Mk. V Nr. LK635 NA-H of 428 Sqn

Take off 22-09-1943 18.28h from RAF Middleton St.George/Co.Durham

Mission to Hannover

Assumed lost at sea

F/O. (Pilot) McRae, Hector E. - J20195 - RCAF - RP174

Sgt. (Fe) Jeffery, Donald E. - 1862968 - RAF - RP155

Sgt. (Nav) Cotton, Leonard - 1516171 - RAF - RP146

Sgt. (Ba) Dickson, Walter E. - R156913 - RCAF - RP181

Sgt. (Wop/Ag) Bohn, Arthur R. - 1415741 - RAF - RP143

Sgt. (MUG) Wright, James - 1590868 - RAF - RP170

Sgt. (RG) Miller, Edward G. - R183626 - RCAF - RP186

The assumption that the aircraft was lost at sea probably came about as a result of the fact that all crew remained MIA.

Four bodies, date of death recorded as 22-09-1943, were buried in Hannover Limmer by the Germans. The MR&ES investigated, and came to the conclusion that Halifax LK635 was the only candidate.

Source: No. 4 MREU investigation report, 07-11-1948, found by Nick Brown in the file of F/O. H.E. McRae, National Archives of Canada.

This report came to light after this claim had been formulated. The contents did not lead to a revision of the claim. It seems that the MR&ES was unable to find the wreck, on the basis of the German documents at their disposal. The Germans did find the wreck, and no doubt recorded the fact, but we assume that there has been a hiccup in the German chain of administration. Efforts are now directed at finding the missing link in German documents, with which the crash site can be found, and with that the wreck and quite possibly the remains of the three other crew. If found, then the claim above could be followed with a new claim, if individual identities of - some of - the crew can be established. Finding the wreck of Halifax LK635 would provide justification for a new forensic investigation into these four graves of unknown Allied airmen buried in Hannover.

Hannover War Cemetery plot 1. The graves of the unknown aviators dated 22-09-1943 are in Row D, marked with blue circles. Hannover Plot 1B


Hannover 080703 1D10 unkn Airman 22-09-1943


Hannover 080703 1D11 unkn Airman 22-09-1943


Hannover 080703 1D12 unkn Airman 22-09-1943


Hannover 080703 1D14 unkn Airman 22-09-1943


3. Cases under investigation


Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Nijmegen Jonkerbos, grave 7/J/3

Text on headstone

Unknown RAF 19-06-1941

Identity claimed

plut. r/op. Walenty Sieckza, PAF, Nr. 781405

pastedGraphic.png

Date of MIA

19-06-1941

Place of MIA

Shot down into the Waddenzee near Ameland, 02.57h

Autopsy details

Recovered from the sea by the Germans, 19-06-1941. Buried Ameland R.C. Cemetery, grave 1/8. Reburied Jonkerbos after the war, but there is no headstone with his name. However, here is a headstone of an unknown RAF, dated 19-04-1941

Squadron

300 (Polish) Sqn Bomber Command

Aircraft

Wellington W5665 BH-M

Other crew

2. plut. strz. Piotr Ryszard Bankowski; washed ashore Ameland 19-06-1941, buried Ameland RC Cem grave 1/7. Reburied Jonkerbos grave 7/J/2

3. sierż. pil. Józef Domański; washed ashore Ameland 27-06-1941, buried Ameland RC Cem. Reburied Jonkerbos grave 7/J/4

4. plut. pil. Władysław Paleniczek, MIA

5. plut. Stefan Winek; arrested by Dutch Police near Westdongeradeel. POW in Luft I at Barth-Vogelsang in Germany and survived.

6. kpt. Wiktor Cebrzyński; arrested by Dutch Police near Westdongeradeel. POW in Stalag Luft III at Żagań, Poland. He survived but he has been killed 21.7.1945 by an accident whilst he was stationed on the Polish Airbase at Dunholm Lodge, Great Britain. Buried in the British War Cemetery at Brookwood, Surrey, Grave 27.E.I.

Notes

It seems that the name of W. Sieckza has been lost administratively.

Summary

It seems that the name of W. Sieckza has been lost administratively.

Evidence, File

Contents

Ameland autopsy report dated ??

Applicable loss literature as stated

Claimed by

Jos van Alphen

Claim submitted

Not yet

Status

Identity claim sheet 12. Plut. r/op. W. Sieckza, PAF - submitted

Case ID

Not known

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Ameland (Nes) General, grave 13/5

Text on headstone

Unknown Airman, Polish Forces, a Sierzant, no date

Identity claimed, either

1. kpr. r/op. strz. (Sgt.) Wladislaw Marczuk, PAF, Nr. 794308, 300 Sqn

Or

2. kpr. bomb. (Sgt.) Tadeuz Wladyslaw Zbigniew Knyazycki, PAF, Nr. 780782, 300 Sqn

Photographs: left T.W.Z. Knyazicki, right W. Marczuk

Date of MIA

08-04-1943

Place of MIA

North Sea 20 km W of IJmuiden, 23.50h

Autopsy details

On 10-07-1943 an unknown Polish Airman, a Sierzant, washed ashore near Hollum on Ameland, buried Ameland grave 13/5 as a Sierzant, no date. Carried a calendar with dates up to 07-04-1943 crossed out. He carried two pictures of a woman. These were send to the Red Cross in The Hague.

Squadron

300 (Polish) Sqn Bomber Command

Aircraft

Wellington Mk. X Nr. HE148 BH-T, take off 21.40h from RAF Hemswell.

Other crew

3. ppor. pil. Stefan Tomicki, PAF, Nr. P-1916. Body washed ashore near Hollum 10-07-1943. Labels with 'POLAND' on sleeves. Two ribbons on left breast pocket, blue-green-white-green-blue and red-white-red. Buried Ameland Nes grave 13/6. Already claimed in June 2006 as ppor. pil. Stefan Tomicki, PAF.

4. ppor. nawig. (P/O.) Jan Rudek, PAF; washed ashore Castricum 10-04-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/5

5. kpr. strz. (Sgt.) Stanislaw Stepien, PAF; washed ashore Castricum 10-04-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/7

6. kpr. pil. (Sgt.) Stanislaw Slusarski, PAF; washed ashore Bergen N-H 10-05-1943, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/16

Notes 1

On 10-04-1943 an unknown Polish Airman, a Sergeant, also washed ashore at Castricum, buried Bergen N-H grave II/E/6. Possibly Sgt. W. Marczuk or Sgt. T.W.Z. Knyazycki. Claim under preparation.

Notes 2

RPh: get pics from Red Cross, if these survived. Cracking one case means resolving the other too.

Summary

Two qualifying candidates for two graves. More information is needed.

Evidence, File

Contents

Ameland doc 10.jpg

Ameland autopsy report dated 10-07-1943

Applicable loss literature as stated

Claimed by

Jos van Alpen & Gerlof Molenaar

Claim submitted

June 2006 to CWGC - but not in clear claim form

Status

June 2008: no response yet

Identity claim sheet 13. Sgt. W. Marczuk & Sgt. T.W.Z. Kniazycki, PAF - under preparation


Case ID

None yet

Country

The Netherlands

Cemetery & grave

Texel Den Burg, grave K/5/113

Text on headstone

Unknown RNZAF P/O. 29-06-1942

Identity claimed

Date of MIA

Place of MIA

Autopsy details

Washed up 27-06-1942 15h beach pole 27-28. Length 1.80m. Recognized as RNZAF P/O.

Candidates

Criteria: RNZAF & rank P/O. & missing at sea in the period of max. 10 months prior to 27-06-1942

1

P/O. William John Fulton, RNZAF Nr. 402177, Runnymede Panel 116

Aircraft

W5458 Wellington II, 12 Sqn, 19/20-05-1942, crashed North Sea off Dutch coast. 6 crew, 4 MIA, one washed ashore 28-06-1942 Vlieland dam 38; one washed ashore 05-07-1942 Vlieland Vliehors.

Other crew

2. Sgt. Clifford A. Bell, CP, RAF Nr. 1117225, RP 78

3. Sgt. William A. Baird, Nav, RNZAF Nr. 404014, RP 117

4. Sgt. Harry E.W. Ansell, Wop/Ag, RAF Nr. 1283858, washed ashore Vlieland, dam 38, 28-06-1942

5. Sgt. James E. Hughes, Ag/Ba, RAF Nr. 1183354, RP 74

6. Sgt. Caradoc Roberts, Ag, RAF Nr. 1379247, washed ashore Vlieland, Vliehors, 05-07-1942

Evaluation

Qualifies, best candidate

2

P/O. Angus Carr MacKenzie, RNZAF Nr. 404491, RP 116

Aircraft

Halifax Mk. II Nr. W7699 TL-F, 35 Sqn, airborne 08-06-1942 23.29h from RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire. Raid on Essen. Shot down by Do 215 B-5 - (G9+NM) - II./NJG1, Ofw Paul Gildner, operating from Gilze-Rijen on this night. Crashed 09-06-1942 02.18h into the North Sea off Haamstede.

Other crew

2. Sgt. Edward E.C. Evans, Fe, RAF Nr. 653677. Washed ashore 06-08-1942 Haamstede, reburied Bergen op Zoom.

3. Sgt. John E. Bottomley, Nav, RAF Nr. 1181181, MIA, RP 78

4. Sgt. Albert C. Schofield, Ba, RAAF Nr. 406153, MIA, RP 113

Sgt. Harold R.G. Elliott, Wop/Ag, RAF Nr. 925929, washed ashore Scheveningen 16-07-1942, buried Den Haag Westduin, grave 2/27

F/Sgt. Gordon J. Sharman, Ag, RAF NR. 639164, washed ashore De Mok, Texel, 12-08-1942. Buried Texel Den Burg, grave K/5/103.

Notes

The fiancee of Angus Carr MacKenzie, Jayne Winstone, ATA, died 10-02-1944 with Spitfire Nr. MK 616. His brother Donald Carr Mackenzie was KIA 12-06-1943 with Lancaster Nr. W4983.

Evaluation

Qualifies

Notes

Summary

19 candidates, one clearly the best one.

Evidence, File

Contents

Texel Den Burg Cemetery register

www.cwgc.org

CWGC Casualty Register

RNZAF PO's MIA for Texel burial. xls

Spreadsheet detailing all RNZAF P/O's lost 30-08-1941 to 27-06-1942

Claimed by

RPh

Claim submitted

Status

Under preparation

Identity claim sheet 14. Unknown RNZAF P/O. in Texel, NL - under preparation

Case ID

Country

Denmark

Cemetery & grave

Magleby Kirkegard, West Sjaelland coast, one grave only

Text on headstone

Unknown RAAF P/O., washed ashore 11-09-1944

Identity claimed

Date of MIA

Place of MIA

Autopsy details

Washed ashore 11-09-1944

Candidates

Criteria: RAAF P/O. missing in the Store Baelt, the Smalandsfarvandet or the Kieler Bucht in a period of max. 9 months prior to 11-09-1944

1

P/O. Charlick, Dean Gordon; Nr. 417050, MIA 16-08-1944, Runnymede Panel 258

Aircraft

Lancaster LM674, 625 Sqn, to Stettin. Lost in the East Sea

Other crew

7 crew, 3 MIA, 4 buried Berlin WC = washed ashore in Germany

Notes

Evalution

2

P/O. Fisher, David Ralston; Nr. 419789, MIA 27-08-1944, RP 258

Aircraft

Lancaster PB180, 7 Sqn, mission to Kiel. Lost in the Southern part of the Øresund

Other crew

7 crew, 3 MIA, 1 washed ashore Aahus, near Kristianstad, Sweden; 1 washed ashore Fælledskov Rev on the East side Island of Sjælland, DK, on 15-09-1944 and was laid to rest in Lyderslev cemetery on 18/9 1944; 2 washed ashore near Kiel, Germany

Notes

Evalution

3

P/O. Heath, Laurence David; Nr. 423305, MIA 30-08-1944, RP 258

Aircraft

Lancaster PD226, 166 Sqn, minelaying in the East Sea

Other crew

7 crew, 6 MIA, one washed ashore Bräkne-Hoby, Sweden

Notes

Evalution

Summary

In the period 01-01-1944 to 11-09-1944 all 66 losses of RAAF P/O's have been considered. From these, 3 qualify. From these, ......

Evidence, File

Contents

RAAF PO MIA's 1944.xls

Spreadsheet detailing all RAAF P/O's MIA 01-01-1944 to 11-09-1944

Magleby 080701 unkn RAAF PO 11-09-1944 (2).jpg

Photographic evidence of headstone data

Store Baelt washups.xls

Survey of all Allied airmen buried in cemeteries around the Store Baelt, where on or more unknown Allied irmen are buried also.

Store Baelt washups.jpg

Map of all identified washups in the Store Baelt area and the associated crash sites

Store Baelt washups.rtf

Document summarizing the evidence in all previous files

Claimed by

RPh

Claim submitted

Status

Under preparation

Identity claim sheet 15. Unknown RAAF P/O. in Magleby, DK, - under preparation


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