Pilot Officer Kenneth Bradley Hicks, J/93442 went missing on 8 March 1945, when he and his pilot flew Mosquito NT418 of 406 Squadron on a night intruder mission to Stade/Utersen, Germany. They failed to return to their base at Manston, Kent.
It is not known if they crashed on the way to the target or the way back, but it seemed that they came down in the Zuiderzee (Ijsselmeer).
When the No.2 M.R.E Unit visit Harderwijk on 20th January 1947, the investigating officer was told by Fisherman Peterson of the Harderwijk 1 that he found the body on 5th April
1945 about 10km North West of Harderwijk whilst returning from Eal Fishing, he pulled the body from the water and noticed the word "Canada" on the shoulder. (parachute still attached to the body) He was later informed that the Canadian had been identified and buried on 7th April 1945, in grave 1.49 in which he still rest.
After this the officer remembered that on Amersfoort (Leusden) cemetery he had seen a grave of an unknown R.C.A.F Observer (Grave 12) who washed ashore at Bunschoten, which is about 10km south of where Flight Officer Oswald was recovered on the same day, 5th of April. After searching there records for other unknowns, washed on the shores of the Zuiderzee at about this time, but so far without avail.
He therefore believed that the unknown on Grave No.12 was that of Pilot Officer Hicks.
After checking the Bunschoten archives, there is indeed information about the washing up of a body. (possible Canadian).
Stated that on 9-4-1945 a body washed up, was buried at 11-4-1945 and had a notification Afd XIII, No.205 buried at Amersfoort.
In the archives of Amersfoort about documents about the Rusthof Cemetery, there is a note about this:
Unknown Canadian Airman washed up on 9-4-1945 at Bunschoten, according to a letter of a family? (Dutch of Canadian is not mentioned) it was W.O. Powell. This letter had a nummer and name of the Cemetery where he was buried, received from the Red Cross.
Checking the CWGC and Amersfoort records it seemed that this would refer to Warrant Officer II, William Obediah Powell who was killed on the 3rd February 1943, but was buried with his crew in grave 13.5.81-13.5.88, so this could not be him.
Also there is a record shown that the crew was buried together at Leusden and also at Amersfoort.
So it seems that a mistake was made with the information when filling in the burial list as WO W.O. Powell was killed and buried at Leusden, the notification in the document B.19797 is not his number, but most likely the airplane number R.9197 (I have informed the CWGC about this).
So back to the unknown Observer who the No.2 M.R.E believed was Pilot Officer Hicks. There were obiviously no papers or any other documentation found on the body, other then most likely also a CANADA shoulder title hence the note that it was a Canadian Airman.
No other Allied-Dutch-German documents were found by me in the archives about why he was not identified as such as no doubt the records most have been checked with that of Pilot Officer K.B. Hicks.
In my opnion 2 conclusion can be taken from this, they checked and it was not him or like in a number of other cases it was not possible to check for dental records on the body.
Its up to either to take an conclusion on this but it is my believe that the unknown buried at Rusthof Cemetery Grave13.1.12 is that of Pilot Officer Kenneth Bradley Hicks.
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Philip Reinders, 2016