Mystery of tags found in Suffolk

A METAL detecting enthusiast who discovered an American serviceman's Second World War identity tags is hoping to be able to return them to his family 60 years after they were lost.

A METAL detecting enthusiast who discovered an American serviceman's Second World War identity tags is hoping to be able to return them to his family 60 years after they were lost.

Gerald Fisk, a 52-year-old carer from Ipswich, found the "dog tags" with the airmen's personal details still clearly engraved on the steel while searching a field outside Wattisham Airfield a week ago.

The tags, measuring about two inches by 1.5 inches, bear the name Lawrence G Miller, an address in Ohio, his next of kin's name, his blood group O, and the fact that he had a tetanus injection in 1943-4.

Wattisham Airfield was an American base used for flying for the last year of the Second World War and several hundred missions were flown from the base during the conflict, including seek and destroy and escort missions for the bigger bombers.


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Mr Fisk said: "Finding these tags brings you closer to the man who lost them.

"You find lots of pieces of aluminium, from the plane, rivets, but that is just scrap.

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"These are personal, they were on a living person when they were lost.

"If they are from a crash then they were last on that person before I found them in a field 60 years later.

"To think that they have lain there for so many years before I found them is amazing.

"I know there was an American plane that went down there and found one tag burnt and bent.

"I went back a couple of hours later last Friday and found another one. The crew only had two, so to get the pair is unusual.

"If they belonged to a fighter pilot he would have been an officer and there would have been an O in front of his name, so they must come from a bomber crew."

Mr Fisk, a member of the East Coast Searches Metal Detector Club and the Ipswich and District Metal Detector Club, is contacting Wattisham Airfield's museum in an effort to trace the crewmen's relatives.

Maggie Aggiss, chairwoman of Wattisham Airfield's museum, said finding an airmen's service tags from Wattisham was rare.

She said: "It's lovely that Mr Fisk, rather than simply keeping them, is trying to return them to any surviving family, who could really appreciate it.

"The military have records and it is not difficult to trace the families. I have had tags found at other sites, such as Eye, but Wattisham is rare. It's really interesting."

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