WW2 RAF research – No 9 Pre-AFU Course photograph – Sgt Bartley and Sgt Cipriani.

mervyncipriani158 Squadron pilot 1399230 Sergeant Mervyn Eugene Cipriani was posted missing from the Kassel operation of 22nd/23rd October 1943. Halifax W297 took off from RAF Lissett at 1745hrs and crashed with no survivors at Holzhausen, where the crew were originally buried in the local cemetery. After the war the crew’s remains were re-interred in Hanover War Cemetery.

Mervyn Cipriani was from Trinidad, the son of Emmanuel Paul and Lelia Inez Cipriani, of Port of Spain, Trinidad and had undertaken his initial pilot training on his home island at Piarco aerodrome. He stands proudly.

Mervyn’s was an all Sergeant crew – it is understood that Sgt Cipriani come to operations flying as second pilot to Bochum on 29th/30th September.

Sgt M E Cipriani

Sgt F Wilkinson

Sgt J B Cameron

Sgt A J G Richards

Sgt G T Boswell

Sgt J Cahill

Sgt M A Edwards RCAF

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Sgt Bartley, Sgt Cipriani

Thanks to Mark for the suggestion that Sgt Bartley may well be 1321459 Sgt Donald Bartley of 166 Squadron who flew as second dickie on 2nd/3rd October. Sgt Donald Bartley was killed in action on his crews first operation against Leipzig on 20th/21st October. As Mark points out it is not possible to state categorically that it is Donald Bartley in the pre-AFU photo but Sgt Bartley arrived at RAF Kirmington around the same time as Stanley Neighbour, and Bartley is not a common name.

Lancaster LM312 serial AS-K

Sgt D Bartley

Sgt L A Steele

Sgt C A Maskell

F/Sgt G R A Walkem RCAF

Sgt E F M Barham

Sgt G Read

Sgt J I Wilson RCAF

t/o 18.00 hrs. The crews remains lie in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

Just a note here regarding the usefulness and interesting nature of the casualty reports generated by the Missing Research Enquiry Service (MRES), established to locate and identify all RAF missing personnel after the war. The National Archives of Australia and RCAF personnel records give access to MRES reports – I am aware that our MOD are releasing records in dribs and drabs to our own National Archives. I know exhumation reports are of a sensitive nature – in cousin Jim’s case the exhumation details starkly described that bodies were badly smashed – but the facts of who, what, where and how, often based on witness statements and definite identification of personnel can be the key to knowing what actually happened to lost aircrew. Details regarding the loss of Sgt Capriani’s and Sgt Bartley’s crews currently remain unknown – I am aware that relatives of courageous young airmen are keen to know what happened so that they can be better remembered by their families.

I know that there is great pressure to digitise all wartime records and the N A can only do what they can to speed the process. The ‘Discovery’ facility offered by the National Archives is a fantastic resource and I am a regular subscriber – I would urge everyone with a WW2 RAF forbear to invest in viewing squadron records and getting acquainted with the names and exploits of of these unsung heroes (although you do need to know squadron details and relevant dates). I am just impatient for more MRES reports to become available.

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