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Old 21st August 2012, 17:17
Marc-André Haldimann's Avatar
Marc-André Haldimann Marc-André Haldimann is offline
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Re: In General, What is Everyone Doing?

An excellent question indeed.... Franck said it all, basically, and everybody will have his personal impetus. Here some elements for my personal drive...

It all started in my childhood, back in the roaring 60's, hiking with my father in the Swiss Alps to the spot he was in the morning of 13 July 1943, contemplating the twisted remains of Lancaster ED 531 PO-T, 467 RAAF Sqn, whilst a Swiss Army party removed the remains of the crew and started to clear up the crash site. He took pictures at that time, and as we were there in 1968, we still found odd bits and pieces from ED 531, including the flap indicator...
http://www.467463raafsquadrons.com/T...ss_account.htm

This moment was a fundamental one. My interest was continually fostered by the fact my dad was a meteorologist at the Swissair and this meant I've spent quite a lot of time with the flight crews, also in the cockpits of the Convair 440's and the Caravelles the company operated then. Some of them were former RAF "Heavies" pilots, and this brought near all their WWII histories , as translated and told by my dad. This kind of environment kept me going into a steady increase of literature and model building... With the passing of time, I "narrowed" down on the Luftwaffe, probably because having lost the war, it was less well documented especially so for the 1944 - 1945 period.

I became specially interested with the planes which flew in this last year of war, as documentation about this period was rare and wildly faulty in the 60's; in the early 70's the first books conveying corrected informations began to show up and, since then, their flow brings an unending wealth of new and surprising information.

Living in Switzerland and being not close to any important archive, I have to rely entirely on secondary sources. The value of forums like this one or LEMB, in English, or LBB in German, is thus immense for persons in the same position: here, noted aviation historians or archive buffs readily answer a wide variety of questions, most of them on the operational level, with primary sources at hand. So many unanswered demands were put here at rest...

My wished for focus is currently the Bf 109 late variants: so many built in around 18 months (estimates are around 20'000 planes) and so few documented. Having grown into an archaeologist, and knowing what importance visual documentation has, I try to move ahead in my aim to establish an open and evolutive photo database, broken down by manufacturers, of those elusive late war Messerschmitt (currently only 1679 pics strong, and probably will never be over 3'000 strong). Much help come from people visiting this forum, and the project takes shape.

As to the deeper background for my interest, it took me a full thirty years to finally understand why such an appeal for archaeology and the late war Luftwaffe: it was actually the strongest possible reaction against the inability of my mother to EVER talk to her only son about the horrors she had to endure as a teenager during the siege of Budapest in late 1944 and early 1945... Like many survivors, she just closed this part of her life for ever, not being able to cope with telling those harrowing times. Faced with this silence, my strive to bring again the Past nearer is such an evidence, isn't?

Sincerely
Marc

Last edited by Marc-André Haldimann; 21st August 2012 at 18:49.
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