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#1 Peter Clare

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 09:23 AM

Crammed together in their unwieldy aircraft and utterly dependent on one another, the bomber crews of the Second World War forged friendships that often only death could break.

The RAF bomber pilot who recovered the body of the co-pilot he lost on Berlin raid 60 years ago | Mail Online


Details taken from BCL. Vol.5 W R. Chorley.

20-21 January 1944.

102 Squadron.
Halifax II LW337 DY-F
Op: Berlin.

Crew.
F/O. G A. Griffiths DFM pow
Sgt. K F. Stanbridge +
Sgt. J. Bremner +
F/S. R C. Wilson pow
F/O. L A. Underwood pow
F/S. E A. Church +
F/S. C G. Dupueis RCAF +
Sgt. H L. Bushell pow

Took off 1630 hrs Pocklington. Hit by flak over the target which set light to the starboard wing and bomb bay. The aircraft dived steeply and broke up.
Of the four who died, two are buried in Berlin 1939-1945 war Cemetery, and two are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. F/O. Griffiths had served previously with 76 Squadron, his DFM being Gazetted on 14 May 1943.

Edited by Peter Clare, 10 October 2008 - 09:53 AM.

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In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#2 andy007

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:14 AM

Great article thanks Peter, Just as it says it shows how strong the bonds of friendships forged in war are.
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Cheers,
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#3 von Poop

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:22 AM

Moving stuff.
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Cake?


#4 51highland

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:22 AM

What a wonderful end to a marvellous story. God bless them.!!
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51 highland "Don't leave me Sarge" & Keep 'em Moving

Là á Bhlàir's math na Càirdean

(Friends are good in the day of battle)


Na diobair caraid's a charraid
(Forsake not a friend in the fray)

Cuimhnichibh na suinn nach maireann .
Mairidh an cliu beo gu brath.
(In memory of the Heroes who are no more.
May their Fame live on forever)

#5 Paul Reed

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 08:02 PM

Came across this today; perhaps some of our Berlin based members will be able to attend?

Posted Image
Identified WWII British bomber crewman to be buried in Berlin

Published: 9 Oct 08 17:03 CET
Online: Identified WWII British bomber crewman to be buried in Berlin - The Local


A crewman of a British World War II bomber shot down over Germany in 1944 whose remains were only identified this year will be buried in Berlin next week, a Royal Air Force spokesman said on Thursday.


Sergeant John Bremner, one of four crewmen killed when Luftwaffe ace Leopold Fellerer shot down their Halifax bomber on the night of January 20, 1944, will be buried with full military honours at the Berlin War Cemetery next Thursday.

Attending the funeral will be navigator Reg Wilson and rear gunner John Bushell, two of the four other members of the crew of "Old Flo" who parachuted to safety moments before the aircraft ploughed into woodland in southeast Berlin.

Wilson, Bushell and the two others who survived, bomb-aimer Laurie Underwood and pilot George Griffiths, spent the rest of the war as prisoners. Bremner, wireless operator Eric Church, second pilot Kenneth Stanbridge and Canadian mid-upper gunner Charles Dupries were all killed.

Underwood, who was interned in the Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp made famous by the film "The Great Escape", is still alive but will not be at the funeral because of ill health, according to an RAF statement.

The bodies of Church and Stanbridge were recovered from the wreckage after it crashed and are both now buried in the same cemetery where Bremner, the flight engineer, will be laid to rest next week.

The wreckage of the bomber and Bremner's remains were only discovered in 2006 after Wilson returned to Germany to launch a search. Earlier this year the remains were confirmed to be those of Bremner using DNA testing. The body of Dupries, who according to Wilson's memoirs wore a rabbit's foot as a good-luck charm, has never been recovered.

"Sergeant Bremner is actually going to be buried in the same row as Sergeant Stanbridge and a few plots away is Pilot Officer Church's headstone," Sue Raffrey from the British Defence Ministry's Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, which helps track down soldiers missing in action, told AFP. "It is nice for the families to have closure after all these years."

Griffiths' widow and daughter will be in Berlin, as will Bremner's daughter and niece, Stanbridge's daughter and Church's son, Raffrey said.

Source:

Identified WWII British bomber crewman to be buried in Berlin - The Local
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#6 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:20 AM

Paul,

I will do my utmost to attend the funeral and of course take photographs.

Regards

Tom
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Reconnaissance Corps - Only the enemy in front.

#7 Paul Reed

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:09 AM

Thanks, Tom. Would be great to hear how it goes.

I tried to find something on this in the 'Lost Bombers' site but couldn't find any reference to this aircraft or crew, which is odd.
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#8 Owen

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:19 AM

just done a search of geoff's site for 102 sqdn on 20/01/1944
here are results, still can't find the Canadian Dupries however I spell it.
crew mentione din article in red

001 BREMNER, J 1567605 20/01/1944
002 CHURCH, EA 170702 20/01/1944
003 DOBSON, FA 1504526 20/01/1944
004 FRANKISH, R 1591171 20/01/1944
005 GOVER, GHF 1603639 20/01/1944
006 LANDEN, A 1536715 20/01/1944
007 LYONS, JE 1822738 20/01/1944
008 MOSS, F 1537417 20/01/1944
009 MOWBRAY, F 1046348 20/01/1944
010 NELSON, J 134166 20/01/1944
011 RICHARDSON, EA 138462 20/01/1944
012 STANBRIDGE, KF 1445546 20/01/1944
013 WATSON, A 952059 20/01/1944






The body of Dupries, who according to Wilson's memoirs wore a rabbit's foot as a good-luck charm, has never been recovered.

Is he on Runnymeade Memorial?

Yes he is...DUPUEIS
CWGC :: Casualty Details

Wonder why he didn't come up on geoff's search engine?
I entered correct date & sqdn.
Just noticed Regt/corps default is set as united kingdom, that explains it.

Another Canadian from 102 sqdn lost that night, Smith
CWGC :: Casualty Details

Edited by Owen, 15 October 2008 - 08:39 AM.

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#9 Gerard

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:49 AM

Paul,

I will do my utmost to attend the funeral and of course take photographs.

Regards

Tom

Good man Tom. Best of luck making it.
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#10 Peter Clare

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:07 AM

Paul,

I will do my utmost to attend the funeral and of course take photographs.

Regards

Tom



Good man Tom, it would be good to have a first hand account of the funeral.
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In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#11 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:38 AM

Just got back from a quick Recce at the Cemetery. As I thought it is all shipshape and the gardeners were working like beevers.
I spoke to the Senior Head Gardener, Mark Davis and he informs me that the headstone will be up within 1 hour of the ceremony ending, so perhaps I can also get a film of the new headstone for all to see.

Today I also took photos of the other lost crew mmbers and can confirm that the name of the canadian Mid upper gunner is R 184367 Charles Dupuis. Buried in plot 5 B 11

There was a rehearsal, of which I took several photos. The honour guard is from 63 Sqd, Queens Colour Squadron.

I spoke to gentleman by the name of Graham Day from the historical section of the RAF and investigates all crashed planes from the RAF when found. I now have a contact, which could prove very handy in the future.

The service is at 10:00 hrs at St georges chapel, Berlin and the internment will be about 11:00 hrs at the Cemetery.
Keep you posted.

Regards

Tom

Edited by Smudger Jnr, 15 October 2008 - 10:48 AM.
Insertion of plot Number and Service No

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#12 Owen

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:54 AM

Today I also took photos of the other lost crew mmbers and can confirm that the name of the canadian Mid upper gunner is R 184367 Charles Dupuis. Buried in plot 5 B 11

Wrong one, wrong date of death & squadron.
"our" Dupueis is on Runnymede memorial see my post #4.
I got confused with that one myself.
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#13 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:04 AM

Owen,

I only noticed the different spelling after I photographed the grave and was noting the grave registration number.

Regards

Tom
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#14 Paul Reed

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:24 AM

Peter - sorry, I hadn't noticed you had posted this already!

Tom - look forward to the photos.
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#15 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 02:37 PM

Paul,

Sorry for the confusion, one of the Gardeners had the Registration book and we both went over to the grave thinking that there had been a typing error.
It looks like being a grand send of. There will be a band in attendance, but not RAF, I was told a local band, but no details.
Even the Police are shown as escorting from the church to the cemetery.
Parking is a little restricted. No parking within 50 metres each side of the entrance. Obviously leaving room for the funeral convoy.
Weather forecast is same as today, overcast and with possible light showers.
Lets hope that it is better than forecast.

Regards

Tom
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#16 Paul Reed

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 02:42 PM

Let us know how you get on!
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#17 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 02:59 PM

Will do Paul.

Tom
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#18 Owen

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:39 PM

Tom (our Man in Berlin),
Looking forward to seeing your report.
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#19 Harry Ree

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:06 PM

I am sure that there are other cases where missing RAF aircrew remains lie undetected in the former GDR.It was not until German reunification that we could research and recover our dead so thoroughly as this.

Per Adua ad Astra
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#20 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:06 AM

The service starts in just under an hour and I am just about to set off. The weather is typical Autumnal and a little light rain, which I hope will stop soon.
Stand by for a report later today.

Regards

Tom
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#21 Paul Reed

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 08:17 AM

I am sure that there are other cases where missing RAF aircrew remains lie undetected in the former GDR.It was not until German reunification that we could research and recover our dead so thoroughly as this.

Per Adua ad Astra


Absolutely - but I wonder what the Germans think about this? And how co-operative they would be?

The Berlin story made BBC R4 this morning, where the two surviving crew were interviewed. More on BBC News site:

http://news.bbc.co.u.../uk/7673063.stm
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#22 dbf

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 10:37 AM

Paul,

I heard the tail end of an interview on Radio 5LIVE a few days ago, in which the instigator of the search - sorry, I cannot remember the ex-RAF crewman's name - explained how he had contacted German newspapers etc., tentatively, thinking his research may not be well-received. Apparently journalists received lots of offers of help, including details from an eye witness of the crash who was 16 at the time.

At the very least, I would imagine that most people in Germany would want a decent burial for these lost crewmen.

And, especially in the Capital city, there would be those who remember with deep gratitude the Berlin Airlift and what RAF & USAF did for the inhabitants.

Regards,
Diane
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#23 Paul Reed

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 11:14 AM

That's good to know, Diane. I also take you point about the Berlin Airlift.
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#24 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 11:53 AM

Hello All,

Have just arrived home from the very moving Service and burial of Sgt J. Bremner.

The rain that fell throughout the night dried up and the sun came out to really shine on the righteous.

The Small church of St George was very well attended with much media interest. Plenty of TV station cameras inside the church and later at the burial ceremony.

The service was conducted by Revernd Dr (Squadron Leader) David Richardson and Reverend Dr Irene Ahens.

Following prayers there was a reading by Gp Cpt Frank Simpson. the Air and Naval Attache of the British Embassy Berlin.

There then followed the singing of Hymn 'I vow to thee my country'.

Air Vice Marshal Peter Dye OBE RAF (RAF Hendon Museum) then read;

John 11 Verses 17-27 regarding Lazarus.

Rev Richardson read an address, followed by prayers and finally the Lords Prayer.

This was followed by the last hymn 'Abide with me'.

There were not many dry eyes in the church, me included and I found it hard to see the text!

There was a good turnout from the local british legion and I have been invited to join.

All the dignitries were escorted by Police motorcycles and cars to the final resting place, the CWGC War Cemetery on Heer straße, Charlottenburg, Berlin.

When all the honoured guests were seated under the Pavilion, the coffin was brought into the cemetery by the pall bearers of 63 Sqd, (Queens royal Colours Squadron) and placed over the final resting Place with great
dignity.

There was a ceremony at the graveside with the Exhortation, followed by the Last Post, beautifully played by the lone German Bandsman, with 2 minutes silence.

The same bandsman then played Reveille and the coffin was slowly lowered to its final resting place.

There then followed the Committal, Blessing and the Laying of wreaths.

A truly moving experience and one that I will always remember.

As there was so many interviews taking place with the media I was more than fortunate to be able to meet and shake the hand of one of the survivors, Reg Wilson.

I hope that I have not missed anything important off this report.

For some reason I am unable to upload phots onto this post, and so will try later.

Regards

Tom
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#25 Peter Clare

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 11:58 AM

Thank you Tom. :poppy:
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In remembrance of my father Sgt S. Clare R.A.F Missing from operations 13th August 1942. Never Known, Forever Loved.


#26 Paul Reed

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 11:59 AM

Thanks for that report, Tom. Look forward to the photos.
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#27 Owen

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for that Tom.
Look forward to the pictures.

Rest In Peace Sgt Bremner
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#28 dbf

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:09 PM

Thanks Tom for your report, wondering if it were possible to show a copy of the order of service?

D
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#29 Gerard

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:49 PM

Tom, well done on making the service.
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#30 dbf

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 05:42 PM

Hi,
Tom has asked me to post up his photos for him as his 'computer said no'.
[Tom if you are still having difficulties, I will post up the rest of your great pics.]
:poppy:
Sergeant JOHN BREMNER 1567605, 102 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died age 21 on 20 January 1944
Son of William McMath Bremner and Ada Bremner, of Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Remembered with honour BERLIN 1939-1945 WAR CEMETERY
Grave/Memorial Reference: 7. C. 24.

These should be of the Order of service

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by dbf, 17 October 2008 - 12:32 PM.
cwgc details

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