WW2 Airman's body found on Hatfield Moor in 1987

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by archivist, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    In the summer of 1987 an airman's body was found in a peat bog on Hatfield Moor, quite close to RAF Finningley and RAF Lindholme. There were no dogtags or other means of identification so it was buried with a "Known to God" headstone in the parish churchyard at Finningley. I believe it was not buried for quite a while after being discovered. Cam anyone please tell me exactly when the burial took place and was it done with full military honours?
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
    Harry Ree likes this.
  3. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thanks,

    I have already contacted them and they sent me a photo of the grave but no indication of when the burial took place
     
  4. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Is this him?

    Lindholme - UK Airfield Guide

    Kyle
     
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Clive from the text above found 23rd July 1987

    "He was buried on 11th November 1987"

    Kyle
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Yes Kyle I know but they should have more details re the burial and where the body was received from etc
    This story has been knocking about for ages
     
  8. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Yes agreed they should but I thought he (archivist) only wanted the date of reburial ? That`s all I really looked for, the rest was linked purely for background information.

    Kyle
     
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  9. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thank you to all respondents. I had the date of 11th November 1987 but a military family in the area tod me that they had attended every remembrance day ceremony for many years and had never known of such a burial taking place. I know that the authorities would have to conduct enquiries before the reburial but he was found in July 1987 and four months seems a very long time for a man who was clearly a war death - further enquiries could easily take place after a post mortem and reburial. The issue has been heavily clouded by the silly ghost story and the Wellington Kyle referred to was actually a Halifax - although it was widely reported as a Wellington. The church sent me a photo of the grave but no detail on the reburial date.
     
  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    The parish burial register confirms 11 November 1987, row 6 plot 1, service by RAF Chaplain.
     
  11. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Hello Tony56. Thank you for that information which will be very helpful. This whole issue is very confused as Cl1 so rightly says because of the ghost stories surrounding the area and which are supposed to have come to an end with the burial of this man. I am not interested in ghost stories. I believe I know who this man is and I am utilising every bit of information I can find to help me prove it. My aim is nothing to do with ghosts, it is to get this man a proper headstone and to bring closure to his family after over 70 years. If my initial identification is correct, I have already located the family but I don't want to name him and possibly upset them until I am absolutely certain
     
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  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Thats fine
    I just think that there ought to be more info re newspaper reports etc which would help you further.
     
  13. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    I have scoured the newspapers but I must not be using the right keywords because I have found nothing. I have spoken to locals and only one of them even remembers the body being found. But I will not give up!
     
  14. PedroC402

    PedroC402 New Member

    I attended a very interesting and informative talk by Andrew Greenslade in Finningley church last night. If you have any doubts as to the circumstances of this story, he is the man to contact. He is a retired policeman who was on the original investigation team when the body was found. He has carried out extensive investigations into this still open case over the past 35 years even though he retired 16 years ago. The remains were burried eventually with full military honours at Finningley but only when the coroner was satisfied that beyond any reasonable doubt, this was an airmen who died in the line of duty. The nationality of the body is still unknown for certain but most of the available evidence would point to someone wearing a RAF leather flying jacket and hand knitted woollen long John's.
     
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    hello and welcome
    CWGC confirmed that the burial of an unknown airman took place on 11 November 1987.

    I have a query with the RAF historical records department to see if they have anymore information.




    regards
    Clive
     
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  16. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thank you PedroC402,
    I am aware of the ongoing nature of the case. Things have moved on quite a lot from where they were when I started this thread and I am much closer to identifying the body that was found and buried then. I have narrowed it down to the crew of one particular aircraft and I have a pretty firm idea of which crew member it was. The South Yorkshire Police have shown no interest and claim to have kept no records of the incident although Mr Greenslade claims the case remains open. I don't know which is true but I have by-passed them and gone to a national level with the report of my findings. I hope in due course that they will get back to me and we can get on with the main purpose of my investigation which is to get this man a named headstone. Until that happens I will not be revealing his name.
     
  17. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    I would be very interested in any information you come up with. I don't want to reveal the man's name until I have proved whether it is him and I have found his surviving family if there are any. My aim is to keep his story separate from the silly ghost stories and the idiots who are promoting them by confusing several different air crashes and intertwining bits of all of them into one just for the sake of a story - with no interest in the truth
     
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  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Yes mate agree
    I shall post on here when I get it.CWGC dont have anything at all I had a good chat with them

    air historical asked me to send an email which I did
    so await further info
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  19. PedroC402

    PedroC402 New Member




    Good luck with that then. I feel that you may struggle proving this beyond any reasonable doubt.
     
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    no joy here another mail sent as suggested below will update as and when i hear back

    Unfortunately, we do not hold any records relating to the burial of an unknown airman at Finningley in 1987. I can only suggest that you contact the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell (JCCC) at Imjin Barracks, Gloucester, who would have handled the funeral arrangements at the time and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) who maintain the grave. They can be contacted at:

    regards
    Clive
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018

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