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Wed, Sep 19, 2007

Britain To Bury WWII RAF Halifax Aircrew Lost Over Poland

Remains Located By Team In 2006

Aero-News has learned remains discovered last year of the aircrew from a WWII RAF Halifax bomber -- shot down over Poland in August 1944 while on a special operation at the time of  the Warsaw Uprising -- will be buried with appropriate military honors in Krakow, Poland on Thursday, October 4.

The service, which will be attended by family members of the crew, will take place during the anniversary week marking the end of the Warsaw Uprising, which concluded in October 1944.

The Ministry of Defense tells ANN the Halifax, manned by a mixed British, Canadian and Irish crew, was on route from Brindisi in Italy to drop supplies at a location 60 kilometers southeast of Warsaw when it was shot down by an enemy fighter close to the town of Dabrowa Tarnowska, approximately 110 kilometers east of Krakow.

On October 4,  a memorial service will take place in the Garrison Church in Krakow, followed by the rededication service, which will take place in the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery within Krakow's Rakowicki Cemetery. The rededication will involve personnel from the RAF's Queens Colour Squadron and the Canadian Forces, as well as the families of the crew.

Halifax JP276, from 148 Squadron, took off from Brindisi, Italy at 19:56 hours on 4th August 1944 to carry out a special operation over Southern Poland. From the time of take-off nothing further was heard.

On board were Flight Lieutenant Arnold Raymond Blynn, RCAF Pilot; Flying Officer Harold Leonard Brown, RCAF Wireless Operator; Pilot Officer George Alfred Chapman, RCAF Navigator; Flight Sergeant Arthur George William Liddell, RCAF Air Gunner; Flight Sergeant Charles Burton Wylie, RCAF Bomb Aimer; Sergeant Kenneth James Ashmore, RAF (VR) Air Gunner; and Sergeant Frederick George Wenham, RAF (VR) Flight Engineer.

Eyewitnesses later said the aircraft experienced problems near the town on Dabrowa Tarnowska, and was on fire and flying in the direction of the village of Morzychna. The aircraft was seen to suddenly stop in mid-air before crashing, killing all seven crew members.

Due to the presence of occupying enemy forces the remains that were discovered at the time were buried in secret in the town of Dabrowa Tarnowska. These remains were later exhumed and reburied in the Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery.

In 2006, a Polish team from the Rising Museum in Warsaw located remains at the crash site on the outskirts of Dabrowa Tarnowska. In October 2006 the site was excavated and aircraft wreckage and artefacts belonging to JP276 were recovered. During the excavation human remains were recovered.

In accordance with Ministry of Defense policy and the wishes of the families the remains will be buried in a single casket/ossuary. The crew of Halifax JP276 are commemorated on the Runnymede memorial, which overlooks the river Thames on Cooper's Hill, Englefield Green.



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