William's Penny.

From time to time something happens that grabs your imagination, and even your emotions. William's penny has done just that.

We have a gentleman who has the correct licence to use his metal detector on the sites of WWII plane crashes in Cornwall. He carefully notes each item; where it was found, which plane it was, the names of the crews and what happened to them. He then passes them to us and we exhibit them with respect to the crews of the planes.

In February last year it was decided to exhibit the items in glass display cases within the hangar. I was given the job of typing up all the notes and details and putting them with the fragments of the planes. One of the items really got to me, an old one penny piece, that had been found in the remains of one of the Spitfires from 66 Squadron that had crashed into each other during a night flying exercise. One plane had crashed in to one field and the other plane in an adjacent field.

When I got home I Googled the name of the pilot to whom the coin had belonged to and discovered that he had a son who was alive. We contacted the son to see if he wanted the coin but he declined the offer. So it stayed there with the fragments of his plane.

Last week I happened purely by chance to read something in a newspaper about this crash, and how some human remains had been discovered on the crash site.

DNA had been run on the bones that had been found which turned everything upside down. It had always been noted since 1942 that the plane that had crashed in one field had been the one flown by pilot A, and the other field had been the site of pilot B's plane. The results of the DNA proved that this had been the wrong way round for all these years.

So the penny piece we have really belonged to Sgt William David Norman, an Australian from Brisbane. Now I am trying to trace any relatives of Sgt Norman so we can offer them the coin and fragments from his plane.

I am being helped in this task by a lovely gentleman named Bob in Brisbane who has links with the RAF and also the RAAF. Between us we hope to find some living relatives of Sgt Norman in Australia so that we can offer them the coin. If we can't find any family then Bob has suggested that we put the coin and some fragments of his plane as a small memorial to him at an airbase where Sgt Norman did some of his training.

Tomorrow I am going to the church where Sgt Norman is buried to lay some flowers for him and to photo the grave. Maybe soon I can pass on the photo to his relatives.

This blog has quite a following in Australia, so please, if any of you have any clues that may help Bob and I in this search please leave a comment against this post.

I will keep you up to date as the search progresses.


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