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Wartime identity tag returned to family 70 years after fatal bombing raid to Germany

Maureen Irvine was recently reunited with the wartime ID of her relative George Cairns Hutton.
Maureen Irvine was recently reunited with the wartime ID of her relative George Cairns Hutton.

A Blairgowrie woman has been reunited with a family member’s wartime ID tag more than 70 years after he crashed and died on his way to a bombing raid over Germany.

George Cairns Hutton was just 34 when his Short Stirling plane crashed in Holland just two and a half hours after setting off from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk in June 1943.

George Cairns Hutton.
George Cairns Hutton.

The aircraft set off from the UK at 11.30pm and was shot out of the sky over Holland by a German plane at 2.07am. All seven crewmen were killed.

The wreckage was cleared by a group of Dutchmen, one of whom found George’s identity tag.

Now, almost 73 years after his death, the tiny metal disk has been handed to the daughter of his cousin.

Maureen Irvine said: “It was the Dutch Army’s recovery and identification team who were trying to trace the next of kin on behalf of a Dutch lady called Elly Zwaansdijk.

 Maureen Irvine (left) receiving the piece from Elly Zwaansdijk
Maureen Irvine (left) receiving the tag from Elly Zwaansdijk.

“Her father had been part of a working party which cleared the crash site in 1943. The site was south of Apeldoorn.

“Elly’s father found an identity tag with the name George C Hutton on one side. She promised her father she would personally return it to his family.

“They have been looking for years for somebody who was next of kin and that led them to me. He was my mother’s cousin.”

Steve MacDougall, Courier, 34 Emma Street, Blairgowrie. Pictures to accompany story about Maureen Irvine, who was recently reunited with the wartime ID of her cousin George Cairns Hutton; he died during WWII when his plane was shot down over the Netherlands. Efforts were made by the daughter of a Dutchman who helped clear the site found his ID to help get the item back to his family. Pictured, Maureen Irvine holding the item returned to Scotland.
Maureen holding the identity tag.

Elly and Maureen recently met to hand over the tag.

Maureen said: “Elly and her two daughters came over to Edinburgh and we met and she passed over the tag. It was quite heart-warming.

“They had gone to the cemetery where the crew is buried, Ede general cemetery, which is near Otterloo, and put roses down and took photographs to bring to me – which was really nice.

The cemetery where George Cairns Hutton is buried - his grave marked by flowers from Elly family.
The cemetery where George Cairns Hutton is buried – his grave marked by flowers from Elly’s family.

“It was quite emotional because she had been looking for years and years.”

George, who was born in Fife in 1908, was a golfer at Leven Thistle golf club and became a professional at Hooton in Cheshire before joining the RAF in 1939.

The youngest son of Philip Hutton and Jessie Cairns, George had two brothers and a sister, who all died childless.

Steve MacDougall, Courier, 34 Emma Street, Blairgowrie. Pictures to accompany story about Maureen Irvine, who was recently reunited with the wartime ID of her cousin George Cairns Hutton; he died during WWII when his plane was shot down over the Netherlands. Efforts were made by the daughter of a Dutchman who helped clear the site found his ID to help get the item back to his family. Pictured, COLLECT picture of George Cairns Hutton.
George Cairns Hutton was a talented golfer.

 

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