Fight to bring home lost heroes

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Tommo5050, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. Quite disgraceful of the Government to have not already done this.

    Link comes from the Manchester Evening News.

    VETERANS are planning a `do it ourselves' campaign to bring home the remains of RAF Second World War fliers.

    They are angry that a B-24 Liberator bomber, which crashed days after the end of the war in the Far East, still lies deep in the Malaysian jungle. No attempt has been made to recover the bodies of the crew of eight men.

    The plane crashed in dense jungle and despite pleas to the Ministry of Defence, politicians and even Prince Charles, nothing has been done.

    Arthur Lane, 88, of Stockport, who survived the horrors of Japanese prisoner of war camps and worked on the infamous Death Railway, is leading the campaign, backed by veterans and surviving relatives.

    He said: "We owe it to these men to remove the remains if possible, and accord them a Christian burial.

    "They deserve nothing less. What has happened shows quite shameful indifference to their sacrifice and we have been fobbed off for years."

    Ann Coffey, Labour MP for Stockport, has told Mr Lane she is aware `how passionately you care about bringing back the remains of soldiers and planes from the Far East'.

    Liberator KL654 was based in the Cocos Islands and crashed in August 1945 in what was then central Malaya.

    It is believed wreckage was first found in the 1950s and reported to the authorities, but nothing happened, then rediscovered in 1970 and examined in 2007 and 2008.

    The pilot was Flt Lt John Selwyn Watts, 24, of Crofton, Yorkshire. His seven crewmen ranged in age from the flight-sergeant `father' of the crew at 31 to a 20-year-old flying officer.

    Now, 10 volunteers are being sought to go to the site, at a cost of £2,000 each, and there are hopes an airline will help to sponsor the trip.

    Mr Lane said: "We want to put right an injustice."

    Ms Coffey's office added: "Ann is of course sympathetic to the families.

    "However, this is not a project likely to be funded by the MoD or, as far as I can see, from any other source."

    The MoD did not respond to requests for a statement.
  2. and we are shocked by the blind siding of the government!!!????? but they are always so upfront and honest!! hhhmmm
  3. I didn't think we repatriated WW2 Remains? In the case of this Liberator crew, wouldn't they be recovered to be interred in Kranji?

    I know there is a Malayan group very active in finding and reporting crash sites and Aircrew remains, and some of their efforts have resulted in identification and proper burial of our Aircrew in the past
  4. msr

    msr LE

    Link please.
  5. elovabloke

    elovabloke LE Moderator

    Reading the now published link it is not clear if the do wish to repatriate the remains or just ensure they receive a proper burial

    Edited to add: Have now inserted mark 10 eyeballs and read the article proper like.
  6. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I think what PTP said. The remains should be recovered and laid to rest with their comrades with due ceremony in theatre. Obviously the MoD will have to fund the journey of relatives any surviving unit members and a suitable burial party.

    The country sent them to war it owes them no less.

  7. Before everyone gets too irate over this there has been a MoD sponsored visit to the site - From Hansard last year.

    16 Jun 2008 : Column WA135

    Malaysia: Crashed Bomber
    Lord Lee of Trafford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will organise an expedition to the likely crash site in Malaysia of the Liberator Bomber KL 654, which was lost in August 1945 with eight airmen. [HL4003]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The defence attaché in Kuala Lumpur and a member of his military staff accompanied a team from the Malaysian Armed Forces on an expedition to the crash site in January 2007. The team conducted a comprehensive investigation of the crash site and recovered a number of items which enabled them to confirm the identity of the aircraft. Forensic examination established that none of the items recovered were human remains. The MoD succeeded in contacting a number of next-of-kin of the crew and they were informed of the results of the expedition. There are currently no plans to undertake a further expedition.
  8. No, I am not getting irate, I explained what normally happens.

    I have no idea what the group are hoping to achieve. They themselves would know the remains would be interred in a CWGC cemetery

    Have remains now been found since the 1/07 expedition?

    I'm not sure Mr. Lane is aware that the expedition took place. However, one of the images shows a very personal effect , so it's possible that some remains are on site.

    Edited to add, yes it is the Malaya Historical Group I referred to earlier