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  #1  
Old 12th February 2006, 03:33
Horst Weber Horst Weber is offline
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RAF postwar KIA and MIA search

Hello !

How did Great Britain search for their air-crews, killed or missing in action postwar in Germany and the former occupied countries ?.
The Americans took all the DULAG-Luft material for evaluation matters to the States and did so their investigation work.

Did the Great Britain search participate from those files ?

Did a Great Britain "evaluation center" of this matter exist ?

If so, are files available ?

Thank you,

Horst Weber
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  #2  
Old 12th February 2006, 10:22
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: RAF postwar KIA and MIA search

Horst: Too many questions here! Basically, the RAF sent teams (called MRES) all over to villages to locate and identify crashes. There are apparently some records at the NA in Kew but the detailed reports no longer exist. However, where crews were identified, details were added to the Casualty Cards, now held by the Air Historical Branch. The AHB also has some Dulag Reports (I have copies) but they are far from complete
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Old 13th February 2006, 18:23
Horst Weber Horst Weber is offline
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Re: RAF postwar KIA and MIA search

Chris !

For the task, to create a nearly complete DULAG KE-report listing, I think it's better to start the research in the NARA. Anyway, thank you for the information.

Horst Weber
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Old 13th February 2006, 19:00
Rabe Anton Rabe Anton is offline
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RAF Postwar KIA and MIA Research

Chris, going just a little off of, and beyond, Horst Weber's question, I wonder if there isn't a deep difference of philosophies at work in the ways that the U.S. and the U.K. approached investigation of missing aircrew at the end of World War II?

The United States pursued a policy of finding and accounting for every single casualty (impossible, but still the ideal), and then collecting the remains for reburial in overseas national military cemeteries, in continental military cemeteries, or in private cemeteries as the family decided.

As a European historian, I'm wondering if British (and perhaps Commonwealth) policy wasn't somewhat different in that the fallen were allowed to "rest in place" wherever initially interred, if that was an honorable resolution of their loss. Investigative processes following such a philosophy naturally would have been, therefore, of a much smaller magnitude than the massive U.S. graves registration effort that followed the cessation of hostilities. I further wonder if British policy might not have arisen out of the tradition of the ages in Europe that the fallen be buried where they fell, usually on or near the field of battle, whereas America, a relative "newbie" in extraterritorial conflict, might have been following less practical but understandable democratic impulses?

All of the above is a bit of speculation, but I'd still like to hear your thoughts about it.

RA
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Old 13th February 2006, 21:43
Jon Jon is offline
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Re: RAF postwar KIA and MIA search

I am not in the British military but Rabe is correct the British tend to leave any war dead that have been found, in there " battlefield " graves.
I think this stems back to the First World War where the ammount of missing Tommies being discovered after the conflict was massive.

Even today you can't really walk about the somme without finding remains or certainly areas that would need investigation if it was practice to identify and remove all war dead back to Britain or a cemetary on or near the battlefield. I walked through Delville wood on the Somme a few years back and that wood alone would need a full time recovery team in place judging by the ammount stuff and personal items still on the surface and in the shell holes.

Most moving place I have ever ever visited.
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Old 14th February 2006, 16:54
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Re: RAF postwar KIA and MIA search

I am not an expert on such matters but my personal opinion matches that with Jon. I agree that the US strived to bring their dead home or, as in the case of Omaha Beach, the cemetery became American soil in perpetuity.
The scale of British losses in WW1 were massive and many were grouped together to be buried close to where they fell (only for the cemetery to be obliterated in subsequent offensives-if you look colosely at the earth around the graves at say Sanctuary Wood, you will see many fragments of bone)
WW2 was a different matter again-those who were buried where they fell (or crashed) were identified and later moved to large cemteries-Bad Tolz, Hannover, Reichswald
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