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8 British airmen laid to rest in M'sia

Family members watching as the eight servicemen were given an official burial with full military honours at the Cheras Road Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. Photo: The Star

Publication Date : 19-10-2012


Unspoken emotions weighed heavily on a damp morning yesterday as the families of eight British servicemen who died in the line of duty 67 years ago watched their loved ones finally laid to rest in a war cemetery in Malaysia.

The eight crew members were pilot John Selwyn Watts, co-pilot Edward Donald Mason, navigator William Kenneth Dovey, air bomber John Trevor Bromfield, air gunners Arthur Turner, Raymond Arthur Towell and William Ross, and flight engineer Jack Blakey.

They were given an official burial with full military honours at the commemorative service yesterday conducted by British army chaplain Reverend Jonathan Beach before they were laid to rest at the Cheras Road Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
Also present was British High Commissioner Simon Feather-stone.

In 1945, the Royal Air Force Liberator KL645 crashed deep in the jungle about 16 kilometres from Seremban, Seremban the capital of Negeri Sembilan state, while on a supply drop mission in Malaya, killing all eight of its crew members.

It was believed then that the aircraft had crashed at sea.
Only recently did the true circumstances of the tragedy come to light, following the discovery of the wreckage by indigenous orang asli living in the interior.

Further excavation work by various groups unearthed fragments and personal items which belonged to the servicemen.

Featherstone said the burial would provide closure for the families who, for so many years, had not known what really happened to their loved ones.

“It is a sad occasion, yet the families are very grateful to be able to finally witness the burial of their loved ones and close that chapter of their lives.

“It is an honour for us to pay homage to those who laid down their lives for their fellow countrymen,” he said.


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