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Durham Sergeant recognised for tracking down relatives of WW2 airmen

Sgt Paul Mawson has received a commendation from the Bomber Command Museum of Canada.

It was announced this week that Sgt Mawson, who works in the control room at the force HQ, would receive a commendation for the role he played in tracking down surviving relatives of WW2 airmen. 

The men had been ‘missing in action’ since 1943. 

The Short Stirling bomber BK716 was shot down in 1943 landing in Lake Markermeer near Amsterdam. Seven men were lost including five from the RAF and two from Canada. 

The families of the canadian men were traced through records but researchers from the Netherlands could not trace those of the men from the County Durham crew, including Charles Armstrong Bell from Langley Park and Sergeant Ronald Kennedy. 

The Bomber Command Museum of Canada contacted Conestt Police, and using his own time Sgt Mawson worked using social media to find the missing families. 

Relatives of the two men came forward and were offered the chance to attend a ceremony in Holland in October where a memorial to the men was unveiled. 

Sgt Mawson said: “In policing you get used to dealing with difficult and interesting challenges, but this was certainly one of the more unusual I’ve had.

“But I’m just pleased that after all this time we were able to help these families find out what happened to their loved ones and ensure that, all these years later, these young airmen have been given the recognition that their bravery deserves”.

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