The recently recovered remains of five Canadian and two British Second World War airmen were laid to rest Thursday in a southern Poland cemetery more than 63 years after their deaths.


Canadian and British pallbearers, at a ceremony Thursday in Krakow, carry a coffin with the remains of the crew of a Halifax bomber that was downed over southern Poland in 1944. ((Czarek Sokolowski/Associated Press))

The crew's Halifax bomber was shot downby the Nazis in 1944 while on a mission to drop weapons and supplies to Polish resistance fighters.

The aircraft and the remains were recovered in 2006 after local residents told museum staff in 2004 that the plane was buried in a farm field.

Relatives of the airmen attended a mass at the military church in the historic city of Krakow, near where the plane was downed, before the burial in the military section of the city's Rakowicki cemetery.

Two British and two Canadian pallbearers carried a single small wooden coffin for burial containing the remains of all the crewmen as a Polish Air Force honour guard stood to attention.

British and Canadian Air Force chaplains said prayers over the coffin before it was lowered into the ground while more than a dozen relatives of the crewmen looked on.

"This is a closure," said Cheryl Blynn, 52, of Paradise, N.S., whose father's brother piloted the plane on its ill-fated final flight. "We now know where they are."

The crew, all members of the RAF's 148 Squadron, included five Canadians:

  • Flight Lt. Arnold Raymond Blynn, of Plympton, N.S., who was 26 when he died.
  • Flying Officer Harold Leonard Brown, 20, of Huron County, Ont.
  • Pilot Officer George Alfred Chapman, 24, of Toronto.
  • Flight Sgt. Arthur George William Liddell, 31, of Montreal.
  • Flight Sgt. Charles Burton Wylie, 20, of Hazenmore, Sask.

Two Britons, Sgt. Kenneth James Ashmore, 32; and Sgt. Frederick George Wenham, 21, also lost their lives.

With files from the Associated Press