THE remains of two Wirral soldiers who disappeared almost 60 years ago may have been discovered in the Malaysian jungle.
Now the British Army is trying to track down relatives of the two men – Oliver Goldsmith and Ray Wilson – to carry out DNA testing to identify the remains.
Royal Army Service Corps Dispatchers Goldsmith and Wilson were in Malaysia fighting in a conflict known as the Malayan Emergency.
It is believed the pair, who were both aged 21 and from Wirral, were among 12 people who died when an aircraft crashed into a ravine on August 25, 1950.
Rescue parties took over a week to reach the crash site on foot and, on September 3, the bodies found were buried nearby due to the difficult terrain and the prevailing security situation in the area.
But last month, over 58 years after the crash, the wreckage of the aircraft was finally identified.
Two recent expeditions – carried out in July and November this year – have helped to confirm the identity of the wreckage as that of the missing RAF Dakota.
Lynne Gammond, spokeswoman for the Army’s HQ Land Forces, said: “We are pleased to have found the missing aircraft and we now hope to be able to identify the remains found nearby.”
It is hoped these remains will be re-interred in due course at the nearest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Cheras Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Those travelling on the RAF Dakota aircraft included a pilot, crew and passengers, some of whom were Malayan.
Army’s HQ Land Forces have limited information about the two Wirral soldiers.
Oliver Arthur Goldsmith was born in Birkenhead on March 10, 1929. His grandmother, Rebecca Leighlin, lived at 16, Homecroft, Marshlands Road, in Neston.
Ray Thomas Wilson, who is thought to have had one brother and one sister, was born in Birkenhead on November 20, 1928. His father, John Sydney Wilson, lived at 93, Mount Road, Tranmere, Birkenhead.
The Ministry of Defence will provide funding for two relatives to attend any re-interment ceremony.
Ms Gammond, said: “Following the discovery of the remains of British Service personnel from historic battlefields or crash sites, we attempt to identify any living relatives so they can be involved in any memorial service.
“We can’t promise to be able to match the DNA – even if the remains belong to the two Wirral soldiers – because of possible damage caused by erosion.”
The Malayan Emergency was fought by British, Commonwealth and other security forces in Malaya against Communist insurgents from 1948 to 1960.
When the Communist Party of Malaya sought Malayan independence, Britain responded by mounting a large-scale military and political counter-insurgency operation.
However, Malaya eventually gained independence in 1957 and, three years later, a state-of-emergency ended.
ANYONE with information on the whereabouts of any surviving relatives should call 01980 618083.