Freddi Habgood, RAF Sergeant murdered in WWII, ceremony held following discovery of identification bracelet 01122021 CREDIT MOD Navy.jpg
Sergeant Frederic 'Freddie' Habgood, 21, was killed at a concentration camp in July 1944 (Picture: MOD).
WWII

How a chance 74-year-old discovery led to WW2 RAF sergeant's remembrance

An ID bracelet was spotted in the soil by a girl who was watering the flowers that now grow in the ash pit on the site of his murder.

Freddi Habgood, RAF Sergeant murdered in WWII, ceremony held following discovery of identification bracelet 01122021 CREDIT MOD Navy.jpg
Sergeant Frederic 'Freddie' Habgood, 21, was killed at a concentration camp in July 1944 (Picture: MOD).

A young RAF sergeant who was betrayed and killed in the Second World War has been honoured with a remembrance ceremony after the chance discovery of his identification bracelet.

Sergeant Frederic 'Freddie' Habgood had been part of a Lancaster bomber crew that was shot down over France on 29 July 1944.

He was murdered and then cremated at a concentration camp just two days later, at the age of 21.

More than 74 years later, his identity bracelet was found in the soil by a local girl who was watering the flowers that grow in the ash pit at the site of his murder.

Two words were visible on the bracelet 'Jean' and 'Habgood'.

By chance, a member of Sergeant Habgood's family read a social media post about the discovery and after further investigation, they were able to confirm that the bracelet belonged to their uncle, Freddie Habgood.

They discovered that the bracelet had been given to Sergeant Habgood as a gift for graduating from training in 1943 and the name 'Jean' referred to Sergeant Habgood's cousin.

Sergeant Habgood was flying in a 550 Squadron Lancaster bomber on a mission to attack enemy targets in Germany when the aircraft was shot down in the early hours of 29 July 1944.

It was attacked by a German Messerschmitt, causing damage to the Lancaster's right wing which caused it to crash in a forest in the Alsace region of eastern France.

Of the seven crew on board: two were killed in the crash; one managed to escape back to Britain; three were taken to a prisoner of war camp and survived the war.

The final member, Sergeant Habgood, was betrayed by a local woman to the Gestapo which led to him being taken to the nearby Natzweiler-Struthof German concentration camp – on annexed French territory – where he was hanged.

The bracelet was collected from the concentration camp this year by Sergeant Habgood's nephew, Paul Habgood, and niece, Marilyn Corrigan, who decided to give it to the RAF for safekeeping.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, received the bracelet from the family and placed it into a commemorative cabinet at St Clement Danes Church in London – the central church of the RAF – during a remembrance ceremony in December.