Since the time that I was a young child I can recall my father telling me the story of my second cousin, Gerald Sorel and how he was lost during the Second World War. Perhaps because my father is a veteran of the Korean War, I've always believed that those who went to war and did not return deserve a level of respect which supercedes that given to other noteworthy figures and accomplishments in our society.

 
Over the years I've developed a strong interest in aviation and aviators alike. One day, several years back, I was touring the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum when on my way through the exhibits I came across a book listing all of the casualties of the Royal Canadian Air Force from World War Two. I was able to locate some details about Gerald, his squadron, and the raid during which he was lost. The short passage  ended with the words  "Halifax #MZ589 missing over Hamburg during night operations, P/O WAG Gerald Sorel has no known grave."
 
At roughly the same time my internet publishing skills were developing so I decided to put up a tribute page to Gerald. Shortly after that, I met aviation artist Randall Whitcomb while he was exhibiting some of his work (he graciously permitted me to use an image of a painting he was working on, you can see it here). After that I was stuck at a dead end and unable to find any further information. That all changed this past September (2002) when I was contacted by one of Gerald's nieces and two of his nephews. With the help of the information they provided me I was able to acquire more information and expect to gain more as time goes by.

Mass Card for Gerald Sorel

Still, I have learned that gathering information on Gerald and his crew members,
the base they flew out of and even details of the aircraft itself is not easy. Sadly, even finding a picture of the base during wartime has been problematic. However, I am convinced that someday I will be able to obtain such information and add it to this site.
 
It is my intention to use this site to primarily commemorate Gerald Sorel, his fellow crewmembers of Halifax MZ589, his squadron and their activities while stationed at Croft in Northern Yorkshire during the war.  As our veterans grow older and fewer, it is increasingly important that we record history accurately for our younger and future generations. Although the fate of Gerald Sorel and his crew was  sadly common during the war, their bravery and sacrifice was anything but common. Through my research I have concluded that in the story of each lost airman there are a number of facts and contributions that make each story extraordinary.
 
Thousands of Canadian airmen lost their lives while serving with Bomber Command during World War Two, it is important that we remember the many young lives that were cut far too short.
 
I welcome all inquiries from family and personnel and contributions of stories, photographs, maps etc. I would also like to encourage visitors to return often and visit the "What's New" page to keep current on the status of my research. 

The past 6 months have seen extraordinary breakthroughs in my research, a good portion of that has come through family members of the crew. I would like to ask all family members that visit this site to please email and to sign the guest book. Although my research has had a breakthrough, there is still very much to learn, any contribution of information no matter how small it may seem is vital to the success of my efforts. I only have photographs of 3 crewmembers so far and somewhere out there there is a crew photo in existence, which one day I am certain will turn up.  So please, contact me! 

 I would also suggest that you peruse the Links section as there are many excellent sources of information there if you are conducting your own research.

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