Archaeologists search for airman’s family

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Italian archaeologists have discovered the remains of a crashed British World War Two aircraft, piloted by a Northamptonshire man who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Archaeological group Air Crash Po unearthed parts of a Bristol Beaufighter, which crashed on September 6, 1944, killing Flight Sergeant John Horsford and Warrant Officer John Watson.

Flight Sergeant Horsford was from Oundle.

Air Crash Po, which is based in Cremona, about 60 miles from Milan, has been studying and researching the air war over Italy in the final stages of the conflict, since 2007.

The group is now hoping to get in touch with Flight Sergeant Horsford’s family.

Group member Agostino Alberti said: “In the Apennines mountains South of Piacenza, in the vicinity of Gropparello, Italy, the remains of a British night intruder plane, a Bristol Beaufighter Mk X, were found by a friend, Cristiano Maggi.

“The aircraft crashed on September 6, 1944. The airmen aboard the plane lost their lives in the crash. The first one was originally from Oundle, Northamptonshire.

“I would like, if possible, to contact his relatives to get some information about Flight Sergeant Horsford.”

The plane was part of the Royal Air Force’s 272 Squadron, which was operating from Alghero, Sardinia, at that time.

Both men are buried at the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa.

Details of Flight Sergeant Horsford’s Distinguished Flying Medal were later published in the London Gazette.

Warrant Officer Watson was originally from Jordanhill, Glasgow.

Anyone who knows the family, or has any information on Flight Sergeant Horsford, can email Mr Alberti at