Next Thursday, they will be buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, having died when their B-24 Liberator aircraft crashed in Kuala Pilah towards the end of World War 2.
In a simple ceremony yesterday, fragments of their bones and several pieces of equipment were handed over by army Training, Planning and Development Headquarters director-general Brigadier-General Datuk Abu Musa A. Rahman to British Defence Adviser in Malaysia, Captain Kenneth Taylor.
Come Thursday, a ceremony with full military honours will see Flight Lieutenant John Selwyn Watts, Flying Officer Donald Edward Mason, Flying Officer William Kenneth Dovey, Flight Sergeant Jack Blakey, Flight Sergeant William Ross, Flight Sergeant Raymond Arthur Towell, Flying Officer John Trevor Bromfield and Flight Sergeant Arthur Turner buried.
Their remains were brought out, from the jungle where they crashed, in four phases beginning Dec 22, 2006, with the last being Aug 9, 2009.
Army Museum director Lieutenant-Colonel Mohd Shukri Mohd Ghazali said the aircraft was believed to have clipped a tree while on a mission on Aug 23, 1945 to resupply Force 136, the Allied special forces group sent to help rebels in the Malayan jungle during the Japanese Occupation.
He said the aircraft, a long range bomber, then crashed into Gunung Telapak Buruk in Langkap.
Shukri said the crash site was first found in 1961 by some Orang Asli. The find was reported to the British army.
"However, no action was taken as it was mistaken as a threat or ploy (by communist insurgents at the time) to trap the British army."
Shukri said various hurdles had to be overcome before the Malaysian army team sent to retrieve the remains could complete their task.
He said among the problems faced were a lack of funding and the fact that some Orang Asli believed the team was trying to "steal some treasures from their land".
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