Family of WWII pilot Sgt Wall traced to Chelmsford

Image caption, Sgt Wall and six crew died in the crash

An investigation to find the relatives of a World War II RAF pilot has traced his family to Essex.

The parents of Sgt Frederick Wall, 29, who was shot down in Salzbergen in 1945, were traced to Carshalton, south-west London, but none of his living family were known.

German authorities wanted his relatives to attend the unveiling of a memorial at the crash site on 13 November.

Thanks to a media appeal his family tree has been traced to Chelmsford.

Sgt Wall, a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit 514 Squadron, died along with six other crew in the crash.

They were temporarily buried at the crash site before being moved to the British Reichswald War Cemetery near Kleve.

Authorities in Germany organised for the memorial to be unveiled at the crash site, but could find little trace of Sgt Wall's family.

They contacted Sutton Council, in south London, which launched a media appeal for information.

Using their archives the council established Sgt Wall's parents were Albert and Kate Wall but none of his living family were known.

Image caption, Authorities in Germany organised for a memorial to be unveiled at the crash site

Staff at the council were contacted by Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick, a forensic genealogist, who was visiting the National Archives in Kew.

She searched through hundreds of records to find details of Sgt Wall's family tree and traced it to Chelmsford via Shoreditch in north London

The council is now trying to contact his remaining living relatives.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, of Sutton Council, said: "I'm really glad that we launched this appeal, it was a bit of a needle in a haystack situation, but thanks to a bit of hard work and some luck in getting Dr Fitzpatrick's help, Sgt Wall's family will now soon know about the memorial which honours the great sacrifice that he made for his country."

Newspapers reported that 119 Lancasters of No 3 Group, accompanied by RAF Mustangs and Spitfires, attacked the Wintershall oil refinery north-west of Munster, Germany, in broad daylight.

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