Exhumation and Identification

On the 1st May 1947, 39 Graves Registration Unit conducted the exhumation of the bodies of the crew from Beuel New Cemetery (as requested by the Missing Research and Enquiry Service [MRES]).

Various items found on the remains, including items of clothing, rank badges and flying brevets enabled identifications to be made. Cecil was identified by his Service Number which was found on his shirt. The MRES report stated that his remains were dressed in:

  • RAF Battledress blouse, which had the remains of the flying brevet on it
  • an “other ranks” shirt, marked with his service number
  • Air Ministry issue underclothing
  • “other ranks” pullover
  • civilian white pullover
  • RAF boots
  • Air Ministry issued braces
  • black tie
  • detachable collar (size 16), showing part of his service number
  • a hankerchief
  • parachute harness


Following the exhumation and identification, Cecil was laid to rest with his colleagues in Rheinberg War Cemetery.

  • R Neale (Plot 11.B.1)
  • CA Butler (Plot 11.B.2)
  • DF Hadland (Plot 11.B.3)
  • H Coulton (Plot 11.B.4)
  • AE Johnson (Plot 11.B.5)
  • RM Jenkins (Plot 11.B.6)
  • GB Thomas (Plot 11.B.7).

Grave Concentration ReportThe Graves Concentration Report [Courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission]

The photograph shows the graves and temporary crosses of RM Jenkins (Plot 11.B.6) and GB Thomas (Plot 11.B.7) at Rheinberg.

[Courtesy of Sue Dobson]

Notice of Reinterment

On 4th September 1947, the Air Ministry sent the following information to the next of kin:

Temporary Crosses

On the 8th August 1950, the Under Secretary of State for Air sent the next of kin a photograph of the temporary cross that marked the grave at Rheinberg. The following is a copy of the photograph sent to the family of G B Thomas (Navigator ME334)

[Courtesy of Sue Dobson]

Permanent Headstones

The temporary crosses were subsequently replaced by permanent headstones, but it has not been possible to establish when this occurred.

Rheinburg_CWGC (16)

Rheinburg_CWGC (20)

“To know that this remains for us until all time shall cease”

CA Butler’s Headstone (with a posy laid on behalf of his family in 2015)