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Do you burst the bubble or keep very quiet

First off it is my intention to keep very quiet

Story, three old inlaws MIL, her sister and her brother
Their brother was a Pilot in WWII Killed in action, pictures of spitfires
and bullets abound, but know nothing of the circs
You have this internet thingy, can you find out something for us

Well I did
In 1939 a PILOT officer, was what I would believe was an AB

His job was to wind the barrage ballon he was incharge of up and down
One night it went up but collapsed back down on him killing outright
and he is buried in a nearby cemetry

I am torn what to do, to spill the beans would destroy their memories
Not to spill the beans means they would not be able to visit their brothers grave
(I do not know how they would not have been informed of this? or the fact that he was serving just across the water surely he would have had weekenders)

Maybe if I was to visit the grave one weekend, and see what info is on it first, If it just says Pilot officer James KIA 1939 then I could take them

Jack McHammocklashing RO9
 
You could say you've located the grave but sadly cannot find any information to how he died, so what they belive is probably true...
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
Jack_McHammocklashing said:
Maybe if I was to visit the grave one weekend, and see what info is on it first, If it just says Pilot officer James KIA 1939 then I could take them

Jack McHammocklashing RO9

I think you have it bang on, why risk spoiling their image of him, go and see what is written then tell them. You will probably be able to stay quiet as to the circumstances. In all honesty is dying serving your country in an accident any more glamorous or less honourable than dying in action? .....but why spoil their memories if it's not necessary.
 
that is a terrible death - and just as valuable as the fly boys (much tho I love em). Of course it's up to you. Maybe underneath they have been worrying about the horror of him dying in an aeroplane - maybe they will be relieved, you can definitely tell the tale in a way that doesn't diminish his contribution - if you want.

My suggestion would be to do it a bit at a time. First suggest they apply for the service record - then you can do it gently.

In my experience of talking to people about relatives who died in the War they want to know what happened perhaps its to do with closure. Perhaps knowing the truth will make other bits of the family history fall into place for them.

Good luck what ever you do ...
 
Still did his bit mate, just as much a hero.
I agree that it would be best to have a look first though, for the sake of those left :)
 
Their Parents would have been informed of the death of the brother and possibly that is what they were told at the time.

Air balloon sections were a part of the RAF and its possible he could have been a Pilot Officer .

Your best bet is to visit the grave and photograph it and show them --it s
probably a war graves type MOD one and I don't think they have details of
how the person died written on them.

Leave them with their memories -as mentioned the guy presumably died
on ''active service'' maybe the balloon was shot down by enemy action as well.


:nemo: :nemo:
 
Thanks for the considerate replies

I will do what I thought to be best, do a recce, on the grave, and if OK arrange a visit one Sunday

Not provide the details, just let these 78, 80,82 year olds keep their memories intact

I think this is one occasion when one may tell a lie

Jack McHammocklashing RO9
 
An uncle of mine was killed during world war 2 when his ship (Shell tanker the Clea) was torpedoed in the North Atlantic.
That is all his sibblings knew, not the exact details.
A couple of years back, thanks to the internet I managed to find out exactly what happened.
His ship was torpedoed by the same U boat as featured in the book and film Das Boot, and on the same patrol, during which they sink a lone tanker that had wandered away from the convoy (HX106).
Investigating further I found out that this was indeed my uncles ship, via U boat websites and a series of email correspondence.
Sadly all his siblings had died before they could find out what really happened to their much loved brother.
Had they not have been dead, then should I have told them, and bring back painful memories?
Frankly I'd tell your relatives that you have found the grave but cannot gather any further information.
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
Jack_McHammocklashing said:
Thanks for the considerate replies

I will do what I thought to be best, do a recce, on the grave, and if OK arrange a visit one Sunday

Not provide the details, just let these 78, 80,82 year olds keep their memories intact

I think this is one occasion when one may tell a lie

Jack McHammocklashing RO9

How about looking up the details on the CWGC site - from my experience (family history) I've found that the level of detail on war graves is limited to name, age, rank/rate, date of death, service, and service number. The graves don't tend to contain narrative details of how someone died. At the CWGC site, you can also create a certificate which may include a photo of the cemetry where the person is buried, or (as in the case of one of my ancestors) the memorial where he is commemorated due to having been lost at sea.
 

silverfox

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Wise words.

And if he was a Pilot Officer - that would make him equivalent to a Midshipman, rather than an AB.
 
I'm sure whatever Jack decides to do will be fine - he knows the people after all.

I am interested how the tone of posts on this thread have bought into the idea that some wartime experiences are more praiseworthy/brave/glorious/ call it what you will than others. Even the old lady if she wasn't in the forces herself fought the war on the home front. Think about the Blitz, firemen, Balham, people who pulled bodies out of buildings ... interesting ... very very interesting.
 
Jack_McHammocklashing said:
Thanks for the considerate replies

I will do what I thought to be best, do a recce, on the grave, and if OK arrange a visit one Sunday

Not provide the details, just let these 78, 80,82 year olds keep their memories intact

I think this is one occasion when one may tell a lie

Jack McHammocklashing RO9

Sometimes a small lie is good for the soul my friend. Dont spoil their memories - its been a long time and it would be a shame to rock the boat so to speak.
 

josiecats

War Hero
Hello Jack.

Not the same thing, But a few years back I found out the truth behind the death of my Brother, I too did some internet searching, wish now I had left it well alone, what I found out tore me apart. Ignorance really is bliss. You inlaws have learnt to deal with the death of their brother and even accepted that there is no grave , In my own personal thoughts if you were to tell them anything it would be like loosing him all other again and aslo the added guilt that his grave had been so close yet un visited by family.

You did a good thing finding this out but maybe the better thing is to let it go and leave them in blissfull ignorance .
 
Well the internet is a good thing but dangerous,

Previously I visited http://www.cwgc.org/ Seeking an Unlce killed in Arnhem, the sight gave me something I was unprepared for, and kept it from my parents who were alive at the time

The cwgc details were yes a pic of the gravestone in a war cemetery with the number,row etc then interestingly it stated son of Elizabeth Glexxxxing
(as in no father, as in bastardus) the others stated son of John and Mary Richmond etc

I will as many have pointed out be economical with the truth and indeed provide a pic of the grave but not the whereabouts
I think that will be best allround

Thank you all for your comments

Jack McHammocklashing RO9
 
silverfox said:
Wise words.

And if he was a Pilot Officer - that would make him equivalent to a Midshipman, rather than an AB.

OMG even lower down the scale :eek:mfg:

They are awestruck by the word PILOT as some sort of Spitfire wingcommander type thing, as opposed to Pilot of a rubber balloon

I will keep my silence

Jack McH RO9
 
Jack_McHammocklashing said:
Well the internet is a good thing but dangerous,

Previously I visited http://www.cwgc.org/ Seeking an Unlce killed in Arnhem, the sight gave me something I was unprepared for, and kept it from my parents who were alive at the time

The cwgc details were yes a pic of the gravestone in a war cemetery with the number,row etc then interestingly it stated son of Elizabeth Glexxxxing
(as in no father, as in bastardus) the others stated son of John and Mary Richmond etc

I will as many have pointed out be economical with the truth and indeed provide a pic of the grave but not the whereabouts
I think that will be best allround

Thank you all for your comments

Jack McHammocklashing RO9

are you sure she wasn't a widow Jack
 
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