Appeal issued after Second World War plane crash debris is found

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THE discovery of debris from a Second World War bomber has started a search for the family of a Jersey-born airman who was killed when the aircraft was shot down 77 years ago.

William George Marett (23239123)

Sergeant Air Gunner William George Marett was 23 years old, and serving with 149 Squadron, when the Wellington was brought down close to Sevenum, a small village in south-east Holland.

He is buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery in Nijmegen.

The crash impact left a crater, which has recently been investigated by aviation archaeologists Piet Snellen and Gérard Huijs, who have examined nine Second World War allied aircraft that crashed in the area on their way to bombing Germany’s industrial heartland in the Rhur Valley.

They were brought down by night fighter aircraft based at Fliegerhorst Venlo – the largest German military airfield outside Germany.

‘This spring Gérard and I started an investigation into plane crashes in nearby very inaccessible high moorland where five British planes crashed in the Second World War,’ Mr Snellen said.

‘When we visited a crater in March, it was filled to the top with water. When we went back in July, taking our metal detectors with us, the extremely dry summer had made the wet moorland around the crater easily accessible, and we found several parts of an aircraft in and near the crater.’

By searching on the internet, and publishing their finds on Facebook, they established that the remains were from a Wellington bomber, which they subsequently identified as belonging to 149 Squadron, based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

From that they were able to identify the seven crew members, including William Marett, who all died in the crash.


His service record shows he lived in St Helier before the outbreak of war and was born in 1917, the son of Mr and Mrs W G Marett.

He died on 14 March 1941 when the Wellington was shot down with a full load of bombs by a Messerschmidt after it was caught in searchlights.

By contacting local newspapers in the UK to help his research into the Wellington’s crew, Mr Snellen is in touch with the families of three of the members.

‘I hope that this article will make it four,’ he said. ‘All these families knew hardly anything about what had happened to their beloved, and we were able to give them detailed information for which they all were very grateful.’

Anyone with information about William Marett should email Mr Snellen at

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell


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