Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Share your success stories here.

Moderator: Global Moderators

puffin
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Post by puffin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:43 pm

David,

Many thanks for your message on this string.

Sadly I think that the Local Authority of Larmor Plage has now taken off their website all the month of November 2008 reports and including the report and slideshow of the 8th Nov., so this is no longer accessible online.

The blog page is still accessible with the photo of you and the mayor.

I have another excellent photo taken when you have given your bonnet to the mayor and he has a big smile on his face as he is wearing your bonnet.

Happy new year to all at talkingscot

Puffin

Montrose Budie
Posts: 713
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:37 pm

The Stele

Post by Montrose Budie » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:21 pm

While the info is included in a post some time ago, especially now that there are so many photies available, I thought that it would be appropriate to repeat the fact that the centre of the 'propeller' is the original boss from PO Lyon's spitfire propeller.

mb

puffin
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Ernest Russell Lyon 1922-44

Post by puffin » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks Montrose Budie for your recent posting.

The centre of the stele is the actual propeller hub from Spitfire AR343 dug up from the crash site at Kercaves in around 2003/4.

For an update, and following post of late November 2008 when I said......

"There are still a number of checks being made...........pressures, rigidity of the frame, ability to withstand high G-Forces and so on before take-off, I understand now that a clearance for Puffin to fly as a passenger in this jet is given by the authorities."

I am hopeful now that before the end of the month I will be reporting that Puffin has successfully achieved this flight.

Last minute early morning pre-flight checks are still to take place. The mind is willing, fingers crossed that the take off can occur soon.

Puffin

paddyscar
Site Admin
Posts: 2402
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:56 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Post by paddyscar » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:52 pm

All fingers crossed here, Puffin! God speed!
John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow

puffin
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1922-1944)

Post by puffin » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:40 pm

Paddyscar.......it is time to uncross your fingers.....I have been quiet for a few weeks......

Puffin has some good news and some less than good news...........

This aged Puffin again did not pass the medical for the Red Hawk flight so is grounded until Puffin can meet the exacting standards needed for a flight in a Red Hawk Jet. Puffin was told that if he was passed for this flight he would have been amongst the oldest, if not the oldest, who have been a passenger on such a flight........another opportunity may just be there..... so Puffin remains optimistic that it may yet happen. But Puffin is also pragmatic enough to just dream of this possible flight and enjoy the experience that is so far achieved.

The good news on my uncle Russell is that in early March the
MoD via the Air Historical Branch (RAF) eventually have confirmed to me that they now officially accept that the Spitfire crash site at Kercaves, between Larmor Plage and Ploemeur, nr Lorient, is the crash site where Spitfire AR 343 piloted by F/O Russell Lyon hit the ground after being hit by flak on the evening of 27th July 1944.

The less good news is that the MoD remains unable to agree officially that
the grave at Guidel of the Airman of the 1939-45 War, Royal Air Force, of
29th July 1944 marked "Known unto God" is where Russell's remains were
buried.

The AHB reasonably say that reasonable doubt still exists such that they cannot rule out that the casualty in this grave of 29.7.1944 might possibly be a wash-up victim whose plane crashed into the sea ( in the six months or so before 29.7.1944) and the remains were later washed up on the coast to be buried at Guidel on this day.

However....this is despite us presenting the local farmer's witness statement in which he says that firstly the germans clearing the above ground wreckage told him that the pilot's remains had been taken to Guidel, and secondly that he visited his cousin in Guidel on the 29th July 1944 and spoke with the gravedigger who said he going to bury a pilot, with a grave open for this.

As these are recollections are made in the recent years that is not good
enough for the AHB and the MoD who are seeking some written proof of a connection between the crash site of around 8pm on 27.7.1944 and the burial of an "Anglais Inconnu" (as recorded in the Guidel Cemetery Register)
on 29.7.1944, and what you see on the CWGC headstone on this site.

And so ......

As one door closes another opens, and I am currently pursuing an enquiry
to the Red Cross in Geneva to see if they hold any record that might link
the crash site at Kercaves to the grave at Guidel. You may have seen two or three weeks ago an english researcher (Peter Barton) unearthed a masssive
archive (some 400m of shelving relating to WW1 alone) in the Red Cross offices/museum in Geneva and that he says also that the WW2 archive is several times that size. These might include the " totenlists" which were the means by which the germans told the english about casualties and vice versa. The archive has Unesco protected world status and the aim is now to digitise these records and when in several years time (WW1 records by 2014??) this is digitised and searchable online many around the world will then have direct access to these records.

There are still several online websites with Russell's memory being kept
alive...

....even one or two with piccies of Puffin giving his speech of thanks in French to those kind folk who had organised the ceremony and to the many who gave up a Saturday morning to be present.

Some websites still have information on this and they are:

http://larmor-plage-blog-citoyen.com/ne ... ussel-lyon

http://www.absa39-45.asso.fr/Pertes%20B ... _lyon.html

http://larmor-plage-blog-citoyen.com/ne ... rmor-plage

http://www.lorient.maville.com/actualit ... 40935.html

And so through these we (myself and the three french researchers Jean
Yves Le Lan, Jean Robic and Claude Helias) can certainly say that we have
brought the memory of this brave young man back into the spotlight.

My efforts to get the grave recognition will continue despite this current setback.

Today I spoke on the telephone with one of the other Spitfire pilots who flew on the same mission of 27.7.1944 in which Russell lost his life, to bring him the news of the present position.

I could not ask for more than being able to get so close to the actual history of the events of the evening of 27th July 1944.

Puffin

paddyscar
Site Admin
Posts: 2402
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:56 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Post by paddyscar » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:34 am

Hi Puffin:

I feel your disappointment in not being able to take the flight you had hoped, but good news on the recognition by the MoD on the crash site.

It's almost 2 years since you first posted Pilot Ernest Russell Lyon's story and I'm glad that you have taken the time to continue to update us as things move along. I've enjoyed reading the sites and having a look through the pictures.

I did see the news coverage about the discovery of the records in Geneva and can not fathom what wealth of information will come from that find.

I don't know who will see to it that funds are made available to catalogue and index all those materials, but it will be a massive undertaking - here's hoping it all doesn't get bogged down in political football.

All the best,
Paddyscar
John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow

puffin
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Post by puffin » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:44 pm

Nearly another year has passed and I have been reflecting on how close, or not, we have got towards gaining the official recognition of the grave at Guidel.

There has not been any new evidence appear which we can present to the authorities.

However, one new piece of information did emerge last year.

In a meeting with the AHB last year I recognized my grandfather's handwriting on a letter on their file. Naturally I asked for a copy of this, and also all other letters of relevance. Kindly they were then sent to me without having to seek them under the Freedom of Information legislation etc.

There was a whole series of letters between the date of the shooting down of Spitfire AR343 on 27th July 1944 and which exchange of correspondence came to an end in November 1949. Clearly my grandfather was enquiring of the fate of his son Russell and how, where and when he was lost in action and of his fate, and if there was any local burial record that might relate.

The AHB sent me copies of all of these letters.

One letter in particular, from the Air Ministry to my grandfather, dated 11th November 1949, records The Air Ministry saying: “I am directed to refer to your letter dated 31st October 1949, (AHB Casualty File Ref. No 40) and to say that four unknown airmen rest in the Lorient (Kerentech) Cemetery, but investigations by the Research Services established that the crashes which resulted in their deaths occurred in 1941 and 1942. A careful check of Cemetery lists in the Lorient area has disclosed no burial of an “unknown” in 1944”.

This is patently, an untruth, as by then the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit (MREU) had, on 12thJuly 1946, exhumed the "unknown" grave at Guidel of 29th July 1944, where an unknown airman had been buried in 1944, and which grave remains marked as RAF Airman "Known unto God".

The Guidel cemetery was the only cemetery used by the Germans for burial of Allied Casualties in the Lorient area from late 1943 onwards into 1944. This fact has been well established by the French researchers, if not also by simple deduction from the local cemetery records. One of the reasons that caused this to occur was that Guidel was some distance from Lorient itself, where, at the burial of Allied casualties in the early years of WW2, the local residents appeared en masse and, whilst civil unrest did not occur, by the silent attendance and silent protest of the local populace the German authorities were spooked and chose Guidel as a quieter place where such burials could take place without such mass turnout of the local Lorient populace.

Had the lines been then been joined up in 1946-49 then the local witnesses could have been interviewed and perhaps a positive identification and link to the nearby casualty from the Kercaves Spitfire AR343 site would have been positively identified. Sadly today the witness statement we have, saying that the pilot was buried at Guidel are regarded by the Authorities as being hearsay, ( ie that is what the German forces clearing the crash site told him) and therefore insufficient enough to persuade the Authorities to agree to positive identification of the Guidel grave.

So, we have got so close, but not yet close enough.

The standard set by the MoD is that we have to prove the case " beyond reasonable doubt".

In law that is a standard set for criminal trials where, perhaps, someone's life or liberty is at stake.

That is not the case here. There is no life or liberty is at stake.

There is another standard " preponderance of evidence", which is perhaps more appropriate for cases such as this.

Where this standard applies one only has to be over the 50% of evidence in your favour for the decision to be made in your favour. For the presentation of evidence and other information in this case it is accepted by the Authorities that we are well over 90%.

I will keep going in my efforts to get the recognition of the grave of 29.7.1944 at Guidel.

Puffin

Russell
Posts: 2559
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2005 5:59 pm
Location: Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire
Contact:

Re: Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Post by Russell » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:19 am

Hi Puffin

Like Paddyscar, I really appreciate your updates about Russell (especially as he shares the name with me !). It must be sooo frustrating dealing with inflexible minds who persist in following the rules set decades ago. I admire your tenacity and hope that logic will prevail eventually.
I have enjoyed the positive moves and finds and empathised with you when things have been rough. Keep going. We're all rooting for you.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

AnneM
Global Moderator
Posts: 1587
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:51 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Post by AnneM » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:11 pm

Hi Puffin

Is there any chance of DNA identification as the Americans use when their casualties are found in Vietnam? If you are related through the male line you should be a match if not someone else with a relationship through the male line should settle it (if there is anyone available). Apologies if this has been mentioned already and ruled out for one reason or another.

Anne
Anne
Researching M(a)cKenzie, McCammond, McLachlan, Kerr, Assur, Renton, Redpath, Ferguson, Shedden, Also Oswald, Le/assels/Lascelles, Bonning just for starters

puffin
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Ernest Russell Lyon ( 1923-1944)

Post by puffin » Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:14 pm

Thanks for your interest Anne,

The subject of DNA identification has been explored (informally) with the answer being given by the CWGC that once a casualty has been buried then the general practice is that there should be no later interference with the grave and only in an extreme circumstance would a CWGC War grave be exhumed and for the casualty to be re-buried.

I was also told by the CWGC that requests for DNA identification are vetoed, mainly by the large commonwealth countries.

I am not aware that DNA has been used as the method of identification for a WW2 casualty in a similar case to that which we have for this casualty and for the grave at Guidel, but I suppose it is possible that this has happened, and we just do not know about it.

Those to whom I have spoken also say that it is easier to identify the DNA through the female line ( ie via Russell's mother's line, her parents being James Pealling (born Dumfriesshire and Jane Russell born Lanarkshire ) than it would be via the male line. Russell's younger brother died in Africa in the 1950's. So, to find a DNA comparison on this female line would be very difficult and require us to go back to find other descendants from earlier generations.

If we became aware of a similar case then we would look further at this science. However there may not be much remaining from which any DNA at all could be extracted. The soil conditions ( the area has much china clay in the subsoils) and other factors may also reduce the chance of a successful outcome.

So, even if official consent was granted, this would not be an easy route to accomplish and the outcome even then may still not be definitive.

Puffin

Post Reply