Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dog Tags Discovery

My thanks to Tony Ovenden and John Williams, chair of the Margate Historical Society, for letting me know that the 'Dog Tags' for George M.Hafner were subsequently discovered on the beach near the crash site and that someone, yet to be identified still has these as a souvenir.

These items should properly be returned to the next of the United States Air Force and next of kin, perhaps at a ceremony next year which the Americans appear likely to support and so if you happen to know where they might be, please let me know.

Mr Williams has very kindly sent in a great deal of extra information, including the lifeboat crew report and I will be passing this on to the Mayor's offfice to retain and he will be receiving a letter of thanks very soon. If he happens to read ThanetLife, I would ask him to contact me by email so we can have a chat.

Photos courtesy of Mike Nichols - Thanet Gazette

9 comments:

Richard Card said...

The redoubtable historical researcher John Terence Williams eh Simon ?

I recall receiving a phone call some years ago. There was a clipped Prussian accent telling me that former World Heavyweight champion Max Schmeling had not fought in the Battle of Crete with the Luftwaffe paras.

Naturally, because the "Ve hev vays of dealing mit you" type accent I assumed the called was JTW on the mickey take.

So after a few "f.... off John I am not falling for this" it eventually dawned that my caller was in fact a German diplomat (forgive oxymoron).

So I responded "You of the German authorities may say he was not at Crete. I have a rather more authoritative source. John Terence Williams Chair of Margate Historical Society."

Awesome research JTW. Margate Historical Society 1 German authorities 0.

Unsung role model of the twentieth century Max Schmeling.

He refused an SS dagger in the 30s and stayed loyal to his Jewish manager. In spite of the severe beating he took in the return match, having been the only man to beat Joe Louis in his prime, Max went on to pay for Joe Louis medical care in Joe's impoverished old age.

He served with the Luftwaffe paras in a unit which won US Army and Papal commendations for their humane conduct.

You in good hands with JTW research Simon. Diamond.

Richard Card said...

I don't know how far JTW got with Dunkirk research Simon. But the early indications were that the Thanet emergency surgical and hospice sites for the evacuation have never had a service of remembrance conducted over them.

If that is the case then it needs putting right with the support of the Royal British Legion.

Richard Card said...

In fact Simon this might represent an opportunity to harness museum related expertise and good will in Thanet ?

The idea ten years ago proved too ambitious and innovative and did not get off the ground.

Basically it was to use the Ramsgate seafront car parks (Dunkirk site related) as a drive in memorial service. Veterans unable to attend Church able to be driven in. Lifeboat and Museum Dunkirk little ship standing off.

The thought was that if Ramsgate became the first UK town to honour the now late Max Schmeling that Coca Cola would involve (seeing as how post war he owned Coca Cola Germany)

I also thought if the town also honoured Jack Nissen (the Jewish radar expert who went on the Dieppe raid and stole the German radar secrets hence leading to the success of D Day) that would bring in Canadian military interest.

A way to make a virtue of the car parks, to conduct a service over the Dunkirk sites and to do it well.

No takers.

DrM. said...

Nice ideas Rick - a trifle 'off the wall and unusual too!

DrM. said...

One of our readers has very kindly passed on some clues as to the identity of the person who holds the dog tags belonging to GP HAFNER - see below.

A little extra detective work and with the help of the online electoral register has given me an address and I will be making a visit this week to ask the gentleman if he might consider parting with them to the next of kin, as is proper in such circumstances.

I will keep people informed and thank you again for the tip!


The details on the Dog Tag are 0752488 T43 MR G.P HAFNER
779 LAFOND AVE
ST PAUL. MINN

Anonymous said...

And I am sure that you will keep all the local media informed of your progress.

Anonymous said...

and so he should 11.36.

it's an interesting story and remember not everyone has a PC to see stuff on the net.
for many people hearing about it in the papers is the only way they hear more about this.

info@beadons.com said...

I am a Private Investigator based in Thanet and network with quite a few American Private Investigators.

I am more than happy to ask if they would be willing to do some enquiries free of charge in order to trace next of kin of Mr Hafner.

Email me at info@beadons.com or phone 01843 579153

DrM. said...

That's very kind of you to offer and I will be in touch.

I have yet to persuade the present owner of Lt Haffner's dog tags to surrender them to either me or the mayor.