Sgt David Kennedy Raikes
Douglas A20 Boston Bomber.
In July 2011, the Air Crash Po team discovered the remains of a Douglas A-20 Boston Bomber near the town of Ferrara, Italy. Human bones were discovered in the wreckage. The British Embassy in Rome has been informed and is trying to confirm the identities of the airmen with the Ministry of Defense's Historical Branch. If the bones are confirmed as belonging to the crew, they will be given a ceremonial burial.
Based on historical accounts, the crew of this plane included:
British: Sgt David Kennedy Raikes, 20, the pilot
British: Flt Sgt Alexander Thomas Bostock, 20, the radio operator
British: Flt Sgt David Millard Perkins, 20, the navigator
Australian: Warrant Officer John Penboss Hunt, 21, the gunner
The find has been noted in the British press:
Royal Air Force Mission Report
Aircraft reported missing 21 April 1945.
"The aircraft took off from FORLI AERODROME at 2054 hours on 21. 4. 45. to attack the river crossing at TAGLIO DI PO, and then carry out an armed reconnaissance of the Po Valley. Since that time, nothing is known."
Letter from Mrs. Jeannette Madge
7 November 1945
Mrs. Made was the mother of Warrant Officer John Penboss Hunt, who was probably on board this crashed airplane. Mrs. Madge writes from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, Australia:
"Could you give me any further information regarding my son 433038, W.O. Hunt, John Penboss, RAAF who was reported missing in a Boston aircraft over the Po Valley, on the 21st April 1945. The telegram listing him as missing was wrongly addressed to Jeannette Hunt. I have married again, and my name is Mrs. Jeannette Madge. I do hope you have some further news as this last six months has been hell, just waiting for something to come through, but so far I haven't heard one word. Please let me know if he is alright or if he is gone. Yours very sincerely. (Mrs.) Jeannette Madge."
One of the true tragedies of World War II is that so many relatives never knew for sure if their loved ones were alive or dead. In this case of this particular aircraft, it would be 66 long years before the wreckage was found by the Air Crash Po team.
Left: John Hunt
Right: David Kennedy Raikes.
Preparing to dig at the suspected crash site.
Using a metal detector to find wreckage parts.
(Left to right) Luca (Air Crash Po), Paolo (Archeologi dell'aria), Fabio (Archeologi dell'aria), Stefano (Air Crash Po).
The men are displaying a machine gun that was recovered from the wreckage.
(Left to right): Melchiorri Jordan and Fabio Raimondi witnessed the excavation.
The witness are from Archeologi dell'aria.
Found in the wreckage, a ring belonging to Flt Sgt David Millard Perkins.
Equipment label for magnetic compass found in the wreckage
Equipment label found in the wreckage
Equipment label found in the wreckage: "Danger High Voltage"
Found in the wreckage, a ring belonging to Flt Sgt David Millard Perkins. The inscription reads, "Chris with love."
Found in the wreckage (center): Watch belonging to Warrant Officer John Penboss Hunt. Note that the watch has W.O. Hunt's serial number inscribed, and that the serial number matches the serial number in his mother's letter above.
Human remains of the crew were found.
We do not show pictures.
This is as a form of respect for the deceased and to the airmen's relatives.
This excavation was possible thanks to the active collaboration of the
Archeologi dell'aria ["Archaeologists of the Air"],
Museum of the Second World War,
The River Po di Felonica (Mantova) and Gothic Tuscany.