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Dutchman searches for war hero Frank

PUBLISHED: 16:31 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 25 August 2010

A MAN is trying to get in touch with the family of an RAF volunteer whose plane was shot down in during WWII.

A MAN is trying to get in touch with the family of an RAF volunteer whose plane was shot down in during WWII.

Sergeant Frank William Niblett, from Sidcup, was part of a seven-man crew who fell when their Lancaster bomber was shot down over Winterswijk, eastern Holland, on October 23, 1944.

Dutch villager Peter Rhebergen adopted the grave of the Sergeant Flight Engineer of the RAF Volunteer Reserve, who was 36 when he died on the way to a raid in Essen, Germany.

He keeps the plot in good order and told the Times how his interest in the Kentish war hero has already spurred him on to visit the UK several times in search of information.

Mr Rhebergen said: "It is my great wish to come in contact with relatives, friends or maybe other people who may have known Frank.

"I have a lot of respect for all the young men who lost their lives too early and I wish to keep their memory alive. I know that the event happened a long time ago but I hope anybody who knows Frank will make contact."

Before that attack by the Luftwaffe in the skies above Holland the flight crew of Lancaster Bomber PD331, piloted by Douglas Wallace MacLean, had taken part in 26 missions. The people of the small Dutch village honour the RAF Volunteer Reserve Flight Engineer and his six Australian crew members every year on May 4 - their national memorial day.

It is known that Sergeant Niblett, service number 1897417, was married to Doris and was the son of Frank senior and Jane Hope Niblett. He is buried in Grave 31 in Winterswijk Cemetery, De Achteroek, The Netherlands.

l Anyone who has any information about Sergeant Niblett should call Fintan Quinn on 020 8269 7017 or email fintan.quinn@hotmail.com.

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