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Halifax HR732 MH-Y

September 5 2003 at 1:05 AM

Bob  (Login NA337)
from IP address

I have been asked by the widow of the pilot of the above a/c to try to solve a mystery. Chorley shows the a/c Lost Without Trace 4 Dec 43. Some 3 years after this the widow rec'd a somewhat blackened wedding ring with the initials of her dead husband engraved on it. She could identify the ring as his. Her enquiries, years ago, only brough forth the message that the ring had been sent back by the Germans, another source said by the Americans. For a ring to be found there must have been a crash site. Can anybody help??

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(Login BL655)

Not necessarily

September 5 2003, 7:57 AM 

It could be that the a/c blew up in mid-air and was scattered? There would be no crash site as such, especially if the wreckage was sufficiently damaged to be unidentifiable.

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Allan Hutton
(no login)


December 12 2005, 7:19 PM 


Hopefully you will receive this e-mail, even although its
been 2 years since you posted your message.

I am the great nephew of F/Sgt William Hamilton, who also sadly perished on board HR732. For many years, my late grandmother clung on to the hope that her brothers body would eventually be located, to no avail.

That being the case, I would be grateful for any information that you may obtained surrounding the loss of the aircraft and ultimate location of its occupants.

Kind regards and I look forward to hearing from you.

Allan J. Hutton

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Gerry Ashton
(no login)

Halifax HR732 - Maurice Hampson

January 5 2006, 9:42 PM 

My stepfather, Maurice Hampson, was a Flight Sergeant Wireless Operator / Gunner on HR732. He was married to my mother Edna. According to our family legend, she received the telegram that he was missing on the same day she discovered she was pregnant with my sister (step-sister), born August 1944. My mother subsequently married my father, Wilfred Ashton in 1953. Maurice Edna and Wilfred were all part of the same "crowd" from Atherton, Lancashire as teenagers. As a boy, I always remember my sister receiving a Christmas prsent from a "Mrs Salvage". After the death of my parents, I discovered that Pilot Officer Salvage was the PIC of HR732. I suspect that we have a "match" here - which gives me goose bumps to think of it. My sister, Ruth, was brought up by Wilfrid Ashton as his own child and has two delightful children, Matthew and Victoria, both working in London.

Any further information on HR732, Maurice or any other members of the crew and Maurice's life would be gratefully received by us all.

Best Regards

Gerry Ashton

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Neil Anderson
(no login)


April 20 2006, 5:29 PM 

I found this info from

a great site and much help to myself

Out of 220 aircraft 16 were lost

DK181 DT730 EB137 HR732 HR782 HX191 JD303 JD361 JD374 LK683 LK685 LK898 LK902 LK968 LW313 LW343

The Book Snaith Knight calls that mission

"The most successfull raid on Leipzig during the war, Junkers aircraft factory damaged.

hope this helps

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(Login KevinW4)

HR732 July 2009 Update

July 2 2009, 10:41 AM 

It may be of interest to you all to know that this search is still ongoing and has had the great effect of bonding a number of strangers together in a common purpose to find out what happened that night.

Perhaps a recap of what has been compiled to date would help provide fresh avenues of research, we feel we are close to an answer, but not there yet!

Obviously, a lot of hard legwork has been done by many people, so thanks to all who have helped, even if just to provide encouragement, your contributions have been greatly appreciated, hence my wish to bring you up to date.

We know that they took off from Snaith at 00:09 and set course for Leipzig over the North Sea, reaching the enemy coast near Den Helder. Luckily, German air defences were slow to pick up the raid, so only a couple of interceptions took place over Holland. From the German border to the turn point near Stendal at 25.52N 12.22E, there were more interceptions with losses mainly between Hannover and Stendal. The feint by Mosquitos with Window on towards Berlin fooled the defences as the night fighters were sent to patrol Berlin, whilst the Main Force bomber stream turned south to Leipzig, with only a few casualties before heading south west towards the French border and then to England. Several aircraft ran into the flak defences around Frankfurt, another 51 Squadron aircraft HR782 was hit and crashed near Weiler. The tail gunner has since told us that he saw an aircraft near them at the same height "hit twice by flak and explode". This he believes was before the bomb run on Leipzig and with a full bomb load is likely to be the reason as put forward previously why not "neat" wreck or crew ID had been made.

However, the fact that the pilots ring was returned 3 years after the end of the war would indicate that the cockpit section at least was found. most of the crew positions are around there, so it would normally have been expected that the crew would have been identified, and the crash site located. If they didn't have sufficient ID for the aircraft, they should at least have had something for the crew. After the war, MREU teams recovered wreckage and crew for interment in CWGC cemeteries.

I can understand that the pilots ring and perhaps other personal effects have been "retrieved" before the regular German authorities arrived, and subsequently been traded for food etc to an American serviceman, but a more plausible explanation could be that the pilot was found with buried American aircrew by an American Graves Registration Unit, with sufficient ID to enable the ring to be returned. Perhaps the other personal effects were to badly damaged to be sent on. However, the pilot at least should have been identified, so it is a mystery as to how the ring alone, without any other explanation was returned.

We have traced the losses that night and of the 25 that either aborted or were lost, only HR732 and a Lanc JB232 remain Lost without Trace. No night fighter claims seem to match and it seems likely that a mid air explosion is the reason that the wreck and crew were not identified.

One small side story may be worth recording. A Ju88C-6 flown by Oblt Johannes Hiendlmayr was hit by return fire after attacking 2 "Lancasters". His crew baled out but he was not found until the Ju88 was unearthed near Hamburg in Sept 2003.
It has brought relatives together from across the country, Canada and the US. They remain hopeful that we can find the final pieces in the puzzle.

If anyone can coontribute further information, it will be much appreciated

Regards, Kevin

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tony clark
(Login tonyclark06)

halifax HR732

December 4 2017, 4:29 PM 

Dear Gerry Ashton,

my mother was previously married to pilot Arthur Salvage. I was interested to hear about Christmas present from "Mrs Salvage"! My mother is still alive. Thought you would like to know.
Tony Clark

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