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KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945

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9 years 1 week ago #1086 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
I continue to learn from the Morgan family, and the sharing of knowledge is a two-way street. Both of Tony's nieces are history teachers, and one told me she has been educating her class all about KH250 and the men, and what happened. I imagine some of those kids will be wide-eyed, as the story of missing airmen, and the KH250 communal grave being found, and the hope that these remains will be recovered, is probably a big deal to a fair number of them, even though it is ancient history to them.

Cheers,

Matt

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8 years 8 months ago #1160 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
A Commonwealth War Graves Commission representative who visited the communal KH250 crew grave in mid-April has written a report that is still being reviewed internally within the Commission. Ultimately it will be delivered to someone in the Ministry of Defence, where a final decision will be made regarding the gravesite. A full-scale exhumation? A re-engineering of the current flooded/smashed gravesite, with no exhumations? Nothing at all? It's too soon to say. The CWGC has not yet been willing to reveal even a hint of what they will recommend to the MoD. A full exhumation is what the kin of the missing KH260 crewmen support. This will drag on and on, unfortunately, but we are hopeful of positive action, in the long run.

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8 years 7 months ago #1170 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
A quick update...I have learned this week that the CWGC report has been delivered to the MoD's Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre, where a final decision will rendered. No timeframe on the decision is known, though. But another milestone has been reached.

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8 years 7 months ago #1171 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
Thanks for the heads up Matt, lets hope they extract digit and finally do something about our missing aircrew. My synical side says they won't, but who know's with this newer Government.

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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8 years 7 months ago #1172 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
Hi, Gary,

CWGC Director-General Alan Pateman-Jones said to me that because their site report (including recommendations) was commissioned by the MoD -- the site visit & report are beyond usual CWGC responsibilities -- they cannot reveal their recommendations for action. However, the CWGC representative who made the site visit in April did write that he has felt very proud and honoured to be involved in this project.

This hints that the CWGC recommendation will be most favorable -- but it has been clearly stated that the MoD, not the CWGC, will make the final decision on what to do. With severe defence cutbacks in the UK, there is certainly no guarantee that the MoD will do the right thing, and I understand your cynicism.

This is such a clear case, really. It's not a scattered crash site we're focusing upon, just an excellently documented communal RAF aircrew gravesite. That's a small excavation site and is nothing like a crash site dig. So hope springs eternal that the bigwigs will find a way to spend taxpayer money on a full-scale exhumation of remains.

Cheers for now,

Matt

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8 years 2 months ago - 8 years 2 months ago #1185 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Re: KH250 H, lost on Port Blair op, 355 Sqn, 17 May 1945
Glad you're back on-line, Gary!

Didn't I add a couple of updates since the above message five months ago? Must have been lost in the website reconfigure, or else I'm just mistaken.

The first important thing to say is that in mid-August, after reviewing the CWGC gravesite report and photos, the MoD committed to a dig, with no timetable set. The MoD's Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) is currently liasing with the British High Commission in India on how to proceed from here.

Next, I am pleased to announce that as of yesterday, we are in touch with the direct kin of all ten of the missing KH250 crewmen. Harold Emerson's two nephews were found in early September, and all is positive. That made Family #9.

Then yesterday Ron Manley, nephew of rear gunner Bob McPherson, heard from a distant relative of the 2nd pilot, John McDowall. By distant, I mean a) he is living in Australia - DISTANT from the UK, and b) he is the grandson of John's aunt (his father's sister). Today I reached another grandson of John's aunt -- the first cousin of the Aussie "find", residing in the UK. The father of distant relative #2 is alive, too, but in failing memory. All is positive with the latest kin finds, too -- Family #10.

This leaves only the kin of the POW from the crew, Harold Wynne, to be found. This is a more difficult issue, since he was killed as a POW and he already has a known grave in Kirkee War Cemetery. I have several photos of Wynne from his time on 101 Sqn Lancasters, and then in India. I also know circumstances of his death, from the Indian who acted as his translator for the Japanese.

The importance in being in touch with the kin of all ten missing men includes the fact that now JCCC will not have to spend time and resources finding the kin. We've handed everything to do with this project to JCCC and CWGC on a proverbial silver platter -- and now we continue to wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to slowly turn. It seems very doubtful that a dig can possibly take place before the onset of the monsoon season in late April or early May.

But...the MoD has accepted the project, and the excavation will happen. We're grateful, just impatient.

Regards,

Matt
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