Flight Sergeant John Joseph Carey, a Canadian casualty of the Second World War whose remains were identified this winter, was buried today with military honours at Rheinberg War Cemetery in Rheinberg, Germany. In attendance were members of Flight Sergeant Carey’s family, representatives from the Directorate of History and Heritage, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Canadian and European dignitaries.
- Flight Sergeant John Joseph Carey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on February 4, 1920. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force on May 31, 1940, in Ottawa, Ontario, and was flying with 103 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He was 22 years of age at the time of his death.
- Flight Sergeant Carey was the front air gunner for the Royal Air Force bomber Halifax BB214. The flight took off from RAF Station Elsham Wolds in the late evening of August 28, 1942, but no further communications were recorded for the flight. The bomber was shot down by fighter aircraft and crashed in Laacher See, a lake south of Bonn, Germany.
- Of the crew of seven airmen, only three survived the crash. Only the remains of two of the missing airmen could be recovered for burial in 1947. Following today’s burial, the remains of one of the airmen still remain unrecovered.
- In 2008, a team of German explosives disposal divers conducted several dives on the site to assess the stability of the aircraft’s cargo, and in the process, recovered human remains.
- Through genetic testing, the remains were confirmed as those of Flight Sergeant Carey in February 2014.
- Veterans Affairs Canada and an Assisting Officer from the Royal Canadian Air Force have provided support to the family members of Flight Sergeant Carey and coordinated their participation in the funeral.
- There are 3326 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War commemorated at Rheinberg War Cemetery, including some 517 Canadians.
“We are finally able to pay tribute to this Canadian hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and demonstrate to his family that this sacrifice will not be forgotten. It pleases me to know that Flight Sergeant Carey will be laid to rest with the dignity and respect he so greatly deserves.” ~ The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence
“It is very meaningful that we can lay to rest a Canadian who gave himself for our country and all that we hold dear. I hope today will give Flight Sergeant Carey’s family a sense of closure, and provide an opportunity for all Canadians to recall and honour the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have served their country.” ~ The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada