The Recovery of JB727

It is now accepted that during the night 2/3rd January 1944, two 49 Squadron Lancasters collided in the area 65 miles NNW of Berlin.

The aircraft involved were F/L Palmer's JB727 and F/O Young's JB231.

JB727 crashed in Lake Müritz with the loss of all the crew but JB231, although severely crippled, remained airborne long enough for all the crew to bail out successfuly to become PoWs.
The abandoned JB231 finally crashed near the small town of Godendorf.

Six bodies from JB727 were recovered from Lake Müritz and buried in a small cemetery at nearby Retzow.
The graves were marked with a simple wooden cross.

In 1947 the Air Ministry were informed that recently translated documents gave the information that members of the crew had been recovered and were buried in Retzow. They were unable to confirm the number of bodies or any of the identities.

In 1949 the families were told that, as the cemetery was inside the Soviet Zone of Germany, a visit by an RAF missing graves unit hadn't been possible. However, it was hoped that such a visit would be possible in the future.

In 1997 sports divers discovered the remains of JB727 in Lake Müritz and permission was sought to recover parts of the wreck.

In late April 1998 several pieces of JB727 (including a large part of the undercarriage) were recovered from a depth of about 10m.

In August 1998, as a result of discovered ammunition, the recovery efforts were suspended.
The site was declared a "war grave" and no further dives were permitted.

However, in June 2000 a specialist team recovered and defused the Lancaster's 4000lb "cookie".

The recovered parts of JB727 and a cabinet of documents are on display in the Rechlin Aeronautical Museum.

A number of regularly spaced cut marks in the tyre of JB727 are speculated to have been made by the propellor of Lancaster JB231.

This discovery, if correct, only makes it 'even more impossible' to determine the exact sequence of events that night.

In 2002, after a lengthy investigation, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were able to identify F/L Palmer and Sgt Camm.
Individual headstones were erected for these two airmen and a single headstone commemorated the four other bodies that could not be positively identified. One unknown crew member is still missing.

From L to R..........Sgt Camm, F/L Palmer, Four unknowns from JB727....Sgt Hartley and two unknowns from Lancaster DV236
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The images and much of the above information have been provided by Torsten Heinrichs from the 'Aeronautical Museum - Rechlin'.

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