Letter to Mrs K Brett from the Air Ministry



Letter to Mrs K Brett from the Air Ministry


Covers a report from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service in Germany. Describes crash of her husbands aircraft which came down 20 miles south of Hamburg. Bodies of some crew were recovered but apart from Flt Sgt Green none were identified. Subsequent visits to the graves identified them as Sgt McLaughlin, Sgt Bayford, Plt Off Bowden and Flt Sgt Green. Investigating officer surmised her husband after bail out was he fell in marshy peatlands and lost his life.



Temporal Coverage



Two page typewritten letter


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KINGSWAY, W.C.2. [/deleted]
73 – 77 Oxford Street,
London, W.1.
15th January, 1947
TEL. NO. [deleted] HOLBORN 3434 [/deleted] Gerrard 9234
P.425407/44/S.7 Cas. C.4
Dear Mrs. Brett,
It is with much diffidence that I am making further reference to the loss of your husband, Sergeant A. C. Brett, Royal Air Force, particularly as no news of him has ever been obtained. However, I feel that you would wish to know of the contents of a report, concerning the fate of his crew, which has been received from the Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service in Germany.
This report states that the aircraft crashed on the top of a small hill about half a mile south of Beckdorf (approximately 20 miles south west of Hamburg). The hill slopes down into an extensive peat bog which continues as far as the neighbouring village of Sauensiek. At the time there was, according to the local inhabitants, a very dense fog which reduced visibility to less than ten feet.
Shortly after the crash the bodies of three members of the crew were recovered from the wreckage, and several days later the body of a fourth crew member was found in a field some distance from the crash. All four were buried in the Allied Section of the cemetery at Beckdorf, but except for Flight Sergeant Green none of them was identified by the German authorities.
The Royal Air Force investigation officer visited Beckdorf Cemetery where he located the four graves none of which bore a cross or any mark of identification. In order to ascertain the identities of the four airmen an exhumation of the graves
Mrs. K. Brett,
40, Manland Avenue,
[page break]
was carried out and it has been established that they are those of Sergeant McLaughlin, Sergeant Bayford, Pilot Officer Bowden and Flight Sergeant Green. Despite extensive enquiries no indication of the fate of your husband or of the recovery of his body was obtained. The investigation officer states that the only conclusion he is able to draw is that your husband upon baling out may have fallen upon the nearby marshy peatlands and lost his life, in which case the chances of his recovery would have been remote.
I greatly regret having to say that, in view of these sad details, it appears very improbable that any thing concerning your husband will ever come to light.
In conveying this sorrowful information I am deeply aware of the distress it must bring and I wish to offer my most sincere sympathy with you in your great loss.
Yours sincerely,


Great Britain. Air Ministry, “Letter to Mrs K Brett from the Air Ministry,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/26446.

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