I have had some contact with the Australian War Memorial in recent times about potentially writing for one of their publications. Earlier today that correspondence began discussing Australians who flew with the RAF in World War 2. I mentioned that a cousin of my grandmother's was with the RAF's elite Pathfinder squadron but his Lancaster bomber was shot down over Germany.
It turns out that my contact is currently doing an article about the Pathfinder squadron and asked me what my relative's name was and what squadron he was with. I could only supply the name but had no idea of anything more about my great-cousin's war service. My contact did a quick bit of looking out of interest and came back with a rather startling piece of news.
He was talking to one of the other staff at the memorial recently. That other staff member had also mentioned that his grandfather flew with the Pathfinder squadron and was also shot down. A quick bit of research later and my contact had established that this other chap's grandfather was the pilot of the same Lancaster that my great-cousin served in.
My grandmother and extended family had made inquiries after the war but never established what had actually happened to my great-cousin. It now appears that there is documentation in the National Archives of Australia about the crash and where the flight crew are buried in Germany. I shall be researching that further quite soon.
The picture above is of the Lancaster bomber 'G George' that forms part of the collection at the Australian War Memorial and worth a look at. This is much the same plane that my great-cousin and this other chap's grandfather were flying in over Germany in 1943.