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Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole

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8 months 1 week ago #5575 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
Hi, Brian,

I know the photo you're referring to, with Ken Brailsford and others standing in front of the forward fuselage of Algy. Ken's great niece, Ann Lyons, sent me some photos last year, and a scan of Ken's amazing logbook. Three of the photos (I think three is the number) went into the book, and they're fabulous. You'll see her name in the photo credit.

The beauty of any kind of public sharing, such as on this website or in a book, is that one thing often leads to another, and doors of discovery are opened that sometimes help someone, like you, like me, like Gary, to put one and one together to solidify a tidbit of info that was only supposition until an essential piece of the puzzle dropped into place.

By the way, I've been intensely involved with a renewed old investigation of mine -- the disappearance of an RAF Dakota from 117 Sqn on 1 June 1945. I'd helped the brother of one RAF casualty learn the basics in the mid-1990s, because he knew nothing, but the Dakota was missing so I couldn't take it further.

But the wreck, with human remains galore, was found a few weeks ago by Nagaland, India hunters on the Burma-India border. The bracelet of Harold Tackaberry was the clincher -- as it is definite proof of the aircraft's identity. Tackaberry, RCAF, was the navigator. And it just so happens that four of the flight crew, all casualties, were on a temporary posting from 215 Squadron, which was still flying Wellingtons at that time. From the 215 Sqn ORB (which may have errors, of course), I see that the four flew numerous ops with 215 Sqn in '43/'44:

Allan Campbell, RAAF, skipper: 35! ops flown with 215 Sqn;
Harold Tackaberry, RCAF: 30 ops flown
Ernie Squire, RAF: 29 ops, I think (haven't totalled them in a formal document yet)
Dennis Jones, RAF: Hard to get an exact count, as there was more than one D. Jones. My guess: maybe 20.

So Campbell and Tackaberry flew a full tour already.

I've found the surviving sister of Tackaberry and the surviving sister of the wireless op, a regular on 117 Sqn, Clare McWilliams of the RCAF. I found the niece and nephew of Aussie Allan Campbell. I'd previously linked the to the great niece of Dennis Jones, but she's not answering me even though I have a current email address. And though Ernie Squire's brother Ron, whom I'd helped in the 1990s, is deceased, I've connected with Ron's granddaughter, who told her father, Ron's son. Only two more families to find -- the kin of the two British Army men aboard, who might have been helping with the supply dropping to British troops near Myitkyina on that op. I think the likely cause of the loss was weather, known to be bad that day; the Dakota hit the highest relief feature in the area.

I don't have faith that the powers that be will get their act in gear to recover remains. The track record is abysmal, AND the governments of India and Myanmar would also be involved. With more recent human rights horrors reported in Myanmar, diplomacy with the West may close up a bit.

Right! I mention all of this, folks, because Brian is our resident 215 Sqn expert...though his father worked on Liberators, not Wellingtons, and the squadron had not yet converted to Libs when Campbell, Tackaberry, etc., failed to return from their supply drop on 1 June 1944.

Cheers,

Matt
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8 months 1 week ago #5576 by Smith 565
Smith 565 replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
Hi Matt,

This is great news. I doubt though that I will be able resist the temptation to read it, so its unlikely to make it as a Christmas present! I'll be exploring the best source to get it from later today and hope Fonthill have done a good job for you.

Interested to see your update on the Campbell crew too, sadly I don't have great hopes either for the decent burial of the crew.

Regards,

Geoff

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8 months 1 week ago #5578 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
I was hoping for a personalised copy but all good I ordered it from Book depository, it's my Birthday on Friday and my folks back home sent me some money via PayPal so what better way to spend it.
Did the site get a mention, I'd like to think it contributed something to your works over the years? :)

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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8 months 1 week ago #5582 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
I was hoping for 100 free copies and free postage so that I could send a bunch of friends signed books. Cruel world!

Gary,

No, this isn't a book about my research and my friends and connections. It's basically an airman's memoir that I enhanced and expanded with appropriate detail where necessary. So there's nothing about your website, sorry to say.

Thanks for ordering a copy, and at least you'll get it in your hands fairly soon, maybe not in time for your birthday, though. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping Fonthill Media mailed off something to me last week. Nothing has arrived yet, so I'm envious of others who have it already.

Cheers,

Matt

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8 months 1 week ago #5583 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
Thanks Geoff. As for the Campbell crew, at this point I can only hold out hope that despite the probable interaction of FIVE governments (the UK, Australia, and Canada for the casualties and India and Myanmar -- I think Myanmar; the location hasn't been definitely pinpointed as being across the border from India in Myanmar, just suspected), there will one day be a recovery expedition which WILL collect bones.

I'm overjoyed with 95% of the process of getting this book published, and that's a high percentage. I haven't held the book in my hands yet; I've only seen the proofs (with the layout which looked good), but I know from the proofs that the end result is top-notch. But they didn't put DFM after MY name, only Bill's, on the cover. Oh yeah...I didn't earn one.

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8 months 1 week ago #5584 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Kirkness memoir - query for Matt Poole
Nah all good mate, you really should do something about your research though, you have an absolute wealth of it. Besides I don't really see this as "my website" it's ours, you've been here as long as it's been running so I see it as yours, mine, and everyone else who's contributed over the years.
I know you could do a better job of it than the last one, you could do South East Asia, I'll do North Africa, we blag Peter in to doing Coastal Command and then it's just the ELNT stuff of 100 Group. You write (cos I'm too lazy :P ) and we research and provide you the details.
I've got so much stuff to catalogue and add to this site, it would give me a good excuse to go through it all.

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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