For decades the final resting place of a Blackpool airman and his colleagues were forgotten.
But the hard work and dedication of a German research team has uncovered the site where an RAF plane was shot down by enemy fire during the Second World War, killing six.
Among them was Sgt Jack Kay, from Blackpool. Now, with a memorial to the dead planned for the site near the German village of Hassloch, the team are hoping to trace his relatives.
Records show Sgt Kay was one of seven people in the RAF bomber, from the number 76 squadron, that was gunned down by German nightfighters on April 17, 1943.
Researchers have discovered he lived in the resort, where he was married to Alice. His parents are listed as Percy and Sarah Ann. Erik Wieman, of the Historical Research Community Rhineland-Palatinate, said Sgt Kay is thought to have been the bomb aimer on board the Halifax DK165 MP-E bomber.
The plane is believed to have been en route to its target – the Czech city of Plzen – when it came down around 69 miles south of Frankfurt, in south west Germany.
Mt Wieman, a Dutch citizen who has lived in Germany since 1992, co-founded the research team, which is working to uncover and excavate several similar crash sites in the region. He said: “After the excavation we plan a memorial for the crew at the crash site.
“During the process of excavating we hope to find parts and personal items we can link to the crew, maybe personal items we can return to the families so they can find closure. We want to contact as many relatives as possible.”
He is hoping Gazette readers may be able to help put him touch with Sgt Kay’s family.
He added: “A memorial at the crash site will be our final goal – so no one will pass this spot not knowing anymore
“Because this site, and the fates behind it, were deemed to be forgotten until we searched for it and found it.”
The team now hopes to make contact with relatives of Sgt Kay and the others who were on the plane.
Six were killed and are now buried at the Rheinberg British Cemetery, while one, known as Mitchell, survived and became a prisoner of war.
The team now plans to continue with its excavation ahead of its eventual aim of creating a memorial at the site.
Mr Wieman said: “We have found the site and first parts of the aircraft. Further permits for 2017 are under way.”
n If you have information about Sgt Jack Kay, email Erik Wieman at kontakt@ ig-heimatforschung.de.