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158 Squadron Air Gunner.

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Logbook and medals belonging to Sgt (A/G). James D. Stewart.

He was lost on his third operational flight on the in bound leg to Bochum on 29th September 1943.

Their Halifax MkII was shot down by Marine Flak Battery "Vlieland West", they had been posted to the Squadron just two weeks earlier.

Jimmy's body was cast ashore on Ameland on 5th October and following examination by the occupying power was buried the same day in Nes General Cemetery, his body was the only trace of the aircraft or its crew to be recovered.

He was the midupper gunner , his crew mates remain trapped in their aircraft , "missing".

The sketch diagram forwarded with the claim form a victory pennant , made by the unit commander shows the aircraft to have crashed into the sea about 2 kilometers to the west of Texel's southern tip.[attachmentid=18429]

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The attached jpg shows my daughter Kara ( In black , then aged 12) placing flowers on his grave.

This was taken on the Dutch National day of remembrance, following a church service , school children place flowers on all of the Commonwealth Graves .

The pipe band - are all local dutch men and they play very well .

As a visitor I must pay my respects to the local people who look after the Commonwealth Plot .

The men buried here are mostly aircrew both Coastla and Bomber Command , I was greatly surprised to find some men there who were lost at Dunkirk in 1940 , the coastal current having carried them to the Netherlands.

If you are looking for a short break in the Netherlands I can fully recommend a few days on Ameland.


Edited by james Stewart
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Hi James,

Lovely post, and my hat off to you for taking the time and effort to visit his Grave. It's nice to have his memory kept alive.


John :beer:

I have a translated copy of the Dutch Police report which details the discovery of Jimmy's body and the Action report filed by the marine Flak battery which shot them down.

This research was done in the mid 1980's just to know more about what happened to them, "missing" is such a heartless term.

I had hoped that the Air Historical Branch of the MOD might have revised their records to link the loss of HR715 (NP-E) to the claim made by Vlieland West.

This they would not do as two other aircraft were missing , one a Lancaster went down off Den Helder and a 76 Squadron Halifax which failed to return.

Four of the Hailifax crew were washed ashore on Borkum suggesting that they were lost locally to the Island.

Because of these two uncertain losses they won't close the book on E/158 , even though Dutch researchers like myself are sure Vlieland West shot E/158 down.

Will look out the two reports , they make interesting reading.

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A fascinating story and although hardly a "happy" ending, better than the sad oblivion of the forever missing.

As a contrasting tale, but also involving pocket contents, my Swedish great-uncle was killed in action in 1918 on the very last day his South Australian Battalion as at the front, and somebody "neatly" cleaned the "new replacement's" pockets out--

as a consequence of which his body was lost forever

and his photo ID as a former neutral merchant sailor, army paybook, etc are "buried" in the Australian war archives to this moment.

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