Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST )

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Mrs Ex-Ascot
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Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST )

#1 Post by Mrs Ex-Ascot » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:27 am

Found this article on the beeb online http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42272952

People like these restore my faith in humanity.
RAF 32 Sqn B Flt ; Twin Squirrels.

Pontius Navigator
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Re: Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST )

#2 Post by Pontius Navigator » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:30 am

At first, as I read the link, I thought 'well that doesn't happen in UK'. Then reading on I saw that there were missing aircraft from the 40s. Then of course we have recovery groups in UK and Europe but they tend to identify aircraft found by farmers ploughing or builders digging, but they do recover bodies.

Then I recollected that my uncle was MIA. He went missing in Jan 43 just before I was born. With wartime secrecy, my aunt, his sister who was serving in Egypt harboured the thought he may have been a POW.

Years later I found out he had served on Beaufighters in Fighter Command and, by chance, I was working in the same Wing as his Sqn. I had the chance to read the original operational record books. His fate was rather less dramatic and especially sad. He had only been on the Sqn a few weeks, gained a few hours, and never been engaged in any actions. On the night he failed to return he had been on a Searchlight Coop but no enemy aircraft were over UK that night. He was recorded as missing over the North Forland.

There was no mention of any radio messages. I speculate that he became disoriented and speared in. He might have lost an engine, he might have been distracted by the searchlights but who knows.

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Re: Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST )

#3 Post by Cacophonix » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:33 pm

It is quite extraordinary how many aircraft have gone missing and not recovered over the years. I read somewhere that the ultimately successful the search for Steve Fossett's aircraft (noted in Mrs Ex-Ascot's link) uncovered more than one other aircraft that had been missing for decades.

This list constitues but a small fraction of the full list worldwide.


Reading Pontius Navigator's history of his uncle is a painful and poignant reminder of so many airmen who were lost in training or other sorts of aircraft accidents during the war. I visited an old wartime cemetry in Florida and was shocked to see the number of graves of the young men that had been killed in accidents during their initial training period or shortly thereafter.

John Gillespie Magee was one such person here in the UK who was killed when he collided with a student in an Airspeed Oxford.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/rafdigby/aboutus ... ageejr.cfm

"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."


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