8 years 5 months ago - 8 years 5 months ago#4056by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Re: KH256
I wrote to Kenneth's 2 year old e-mail address nine days ago, then again yesterday...no reply yet.
The Circumstantial Report noted:
Five other aircraft attacking the same area observed between 17.26 hrs. and 17.42 hrs. black column of smoke from North bank of estuary of KWAMKLA CHAUNG just north east of AMHURST POINT and one aircraft. . .
I knew that this report misspelled Amherst, and it was difficult to make out the spelling of the chaung (stream) due to the quality of the scan. Thus, I wondered if the wartime British map of the area had a KWAMKLA CHAUNG, or something similar, near Amherst. I contacted the British Library on Thursday, and by Friday I had my answer: There is a KWANHLA village slightly southeast of Amherst, and there is a KWANHLA Chaung nearby which drains into WAGARU CHAUNG, which drains into the Gulf of Martaban on the northeast side of Amherst town.
So, I feel fairly confident that the column of smoke was on the north bank of the short Kwanhla Chaung or maybe Wagaru Chaung. It is about 10 miles of waterway.
At the US National Archives yesterday I studied wartime air photo recon flight lines from post-15 March 45 and have ordered eight cans of 9 by 9 inch images covering the area. There is 22 March '45 coverage, and some much more detailed 13 and 16 April '45 coverage. It is certainly needle-in-a-haystack hunting from this point, and of course the column of smoke may have not been the KH256 crash site. Next Saturday I hope to view the film (retrieved from storage underground in Kansas and delivered to the Nat. Archives).
Meanwhile, there are routes to be taken to learn from official records where the crash was pinpointed. This could take some time.
Nah, your not stalking, Gary. He posted here two years ago asking for help, and now I hope we can reconnect with him. You are correct -- my e-mails to his last-known address did not bounce. Keeping fingers crossed!
I made my trip to the National Archives and viewed the appropriate imagery frames on six different cans of air photos (each can containing one or more photo recon missions). Unfortunately, a friend with a good digital camera had to back out, so all I did was identify the coverage and take detailed notes. Then, hopefully mid-week, my friend and I will get over there (um, to the Archives, not to Burma) to shoot the images (with closeups). At home I can flip the images from neg to pos, and then things will start to make sense to the brain and I can really look for any evidence of the crash.
But, like I said, it's a needle-in-a-haystack search. Sad to say, there is only general 1:60,000-scale imagery over most of my target area, and I doubt a crash site will show up on such imagery. But I could be wrong, and some of the 1:13,000 and 1:15,000 highly detailed imagery over part of the area of interest might reveal the crash.
Getting more info from the likes of Gerald Greenlee's RCAF personnel file, and the Air Historical Branch, might be essential to fine-tuning where, exactly, KH256 crashed. Or it may never be learned. Hopefully the AHB will provide the Greenlee family with some welcome new details.
Nothing ventured...nothing gained. Hope springs eternal. I'm latching onto these cliches right now.
The Canadian government's Directorate of History and Heritage in Ottawa has looked over the RCAF personnel files of the KH256 crew, in order to gain a more thorough understanding of what was known about the crash and then the site visit to the wreckage. Laurel Clegg of DHH will be in touch after she has reviewed the documents. I will eventually share a basic summary.
Thank goodness the Canadian -- and Australian -- archives provide a wealth of info on a casualty, because the UK Ministry of Defence hoards its history and doles out only the tiniest bits. One has to hope a crew being investigated had at least one Canadian or Australian among the casualties, so that many important details can be learned.