Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canadian Halifax Gunner still MIA… 65 Years after WW II

MORE CANADIANS flew more Halifaxes, on more missions, with more success, than any other nationality during World War II.

On January 20, 1944 an 800 plane bombing raid on Berlin racked up 27 Allied aircraft losses, including Halifax LW337 from 102 Squadron based at RAF Pocklington. Nicknamed "Old Flo", the RAF Halifax bomber, consisting mostly of an English crew of eight , except for a lone Canadian was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Germany, on the leg home from the mission.

FOUR of the crew were taken prisoner by the Nazis. Two died in the crash, but were buried (are you ready?) after the war. Gee, how does that work??

Mysteriously, two of the crew, co-pilot flight engineer Sergeant John Bremner, and RCAF French-Canadian upper gunner Warrant Officer Charles Dupueis were never recovered.

What indeed, happened to them?

In 2005, "Pilot Officer Reg Wilson " became restless while thinking often of the war years and decided to return to Germany to try to find out.

If he could find the wreckage of the Halifax he commanded, Reg also hoped to be able to find his co-pilot to have him finally laid to rest. With the help of locals, and his daughter Janet who speaks German fluently, eye witnesses to the crash were located. By using a metal detector the smashed Halifax was found readily enough, in dense German forest.

Bones were recovered from the crash site and sent away for DNA testing.

Two years later, the results came back and indeed Reg's efforts for his buddy, co-pilot flight engineer Sergeant John Bremner, had paid off. Sergeant Bremner was buried with full military honours at the Heerstrasse War Cemetery, in Berlin, in 2008.

RCAF French-Canadian upper gunner, Warrant Officer Charles Dupueis, remains missing in action.

Charles… these two Halifax flypasts are dedicated to you, and all other Canadians of the RCAF who never made it home, and are still missing in action.

Rest in peace, brother.

Only ONE fully restored HANDLEY-PAGE HALIFAX (from only Halifax parts) is in existance today. It is located at the RCAF Memorial Museum at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario.


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