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Where is the family of Flight Sgt. MacMillan?

Researcher searching for relatives of local WWII hero

The tombstone details are scant. 

What is known about Flight/Sgt. Hugh Coles MacMillan is that he was an air gunner and the son of Hugh MacMillan of Nobel, Ontario near Parry Sound.  

Flight/Sgt. MacMillan's R.A.F. bomber of 90 Squadron crashed on the night of Sept. 5,1943 during a major night mission to bomb the cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.

It was the biggest raid on these two cities in the Second World War with more than 600 allied aircraft taking part in the attack.

More than 30 planes were shot down and Stirling EF129 was among them.

Hit by a German night-fighter, the plane burst into flames and crashed into a farmer's field. 

No one survived. 

Of the seven crew members, MacMillan was the only one from Canada.

Now a Dutch national living in Germany is digging up the past on behalf of MacMillan and other war heroes and is trying to find their families. 

Erik Wieman, 48, is co-founder of a crash site research team that has discovered over 20 wrecks, including the site of MacMillan's R.A.F. bomber.

"We have excavated the site in Limburgerhof, and are planning a memorial for 2017," said Wieman. "We want to contact as many relatives as possible to tell them that the crash site of their families has been found and to tell them about the memorial."

Six of seven families of the crew have been contacted in New Zealand and the U.K. and if Wieman can reach the McMillan family in Canada, he will have notified all seven.

Wieman and his team have learned the powerful impact of giving even a small plane part from a crash site to families, creating a tangible connection to their lost loved ones. 

A memorial at the crash site is their final goal.  

"We want to tell all passers by about the history of the site and the fates behind it. So these men who died here will not be forgotten again."

A similar plea from Wieman in Vancouver recently help locate relatives of another Second World War hero. 

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Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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