Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lost but Found

Good news today in the shape of Lt George Hafner’s ‘dog-tag’ from the Liberator bomber crash at Palm Bay in April of 1944.

My thanks to local aviation historian, Norman Turner who first discovered it and Paul Wesley, who has been looking after them and handed them over to me today, so that I can pass them over to the Mayor of Margate.

Lt Hafner, who lost his life in the crash, with eight of his fellow crew members, is pictured, second from the left and he was a member of the 446th Bomb Group, 20th Combat Wing, 2nd Air Division, 8th U.S.A.A.F, stationed at Flixton in Norfolk. Also known as the "Bungay Buckaroos. There’s more detail to be found on earlier stories on this weblog.

I’m now hoping that with the support of the Mayor and Margate Charter Trustees, we can arrange a more formal remembrance event, involving the US Air Force in April of next year which commemorate all of the many young airmen men who lost their lives on the beaches around Thanet and would involve the formal surrender of LT Hafner’s dog-tag to the proper authority;so that it may be returned to his next of kin. I will of course keep everyone informed.

I had been over in Le Touquet today and flying back over the Goodwin lightship towards Dover at 4,500 feet, I saw two shadows whip past on the surface of the sea below. Seconds later two USAF F15 fighters appeared below and across my nose heading towards Deal and I suspect that they may have had something to do with the Spitfire Museum event at Manston. A little later I saw a Spitfire fly past as well.

Margate isn’t alone in being hit by the recession. I was surprised at how many shops had closed down in a very busy Le Touquet, leaving gaps along its prosperous ‘drag’. If a popular seaside resort like Le Touquet is feeling the pinch then the impact is bound to be felt doubly hard elsewhere. We are reminded in today’s papers that if the first half of 2009 witnessed the impact of the banking collapse on consumers and businesses, then the second half of 2009 will see the public sector finances hitting the buffers, with Government being unable to sustain the now unimaginable levels of public debt. This will leave many local councils across the UK struggling to provide what many people have come to regard as their right in basic public services.


fragilefoxone said...

Hi Simon, well done on getting hold of Hafners dog tags. Lets hope they are returned to his family. A memorial next April for those who died defending our coasts whilst so far away from their own would be very fitting. Let us hope it can be arranged.The Sea is still turning up pieces of the Bomber, only last week i found another piece of Hafners Liberator, evidence of the ferocity of the crash. Let us hope they will remembered.
Regards Phil

Tony Beachcomber said...

Hi Simon,

Well done I am impressed, I think you quest has prooved to be ra a education in the world of beachcombing.

West Cliff GB said...

Council and Government play too much of a role in our lives.

Increasingly, the country feels as it did in early 1979.

Pressure on Public Debt will witness the re-awakening amongst the voters that 'invisible jobs and services' don't come without a price tag (or credit-agreement) attached.

Bring on the election.

Tony Beachcomber said...


Can you please give me some info for the archives, for example have any of the pieces got American serial numbers and inspection stamps. If not what is the pitch between the rivet holes and have you any idea what the part maybe. Finaly has the aluminium showing bluse patches in places.

Kent Private Investigator said...

Really good news at long last. It would be nice if the person who found the dog tags was allowed to personally hand them over to the family.

DrM. said...

I've promised to involve him in what we try and arrange for next year!

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Dog Tags are good news!
You don't have to go as far as Le Touquet to find empty shops... the Margate High Street 'syndrome' has long since started in Canterbury - very busy little hotspot.