Simon finds pilot’s lost dog tag in Thames at Limehouse—100 years on

PUBLISHED: 00:01 23 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:44 25 October 2012

Simon Bourne with the First World War dogtag he found

Simon Bourne with the First World War dogtag he found

Simon Bourne - promo

Simon Bourne is on a mission—to track down the wartime pilot who ‘lost’ his dogtag in the Thames.

Nathan Posener’s dogtagNathan Posener’s dogtag

The 31-year-old east London graphic designer wants to return it to his family.

He found the silver identity disc using his metal detector along the foreshore at Limehouse Reach.

It bore the name ‘N Posener’ with the service number ‘19385’ from the Royal Flying Corp—in the First World War almost 100 years ago.

Simon, a member of Thames & Field metal detecting and mudlarking society, then turned detective and sifted through archive records to find Nathan Posener living just a mile away at 123 Commercial Road in Whitechapel.

Simon Bourne on the Thames foreshore where he hunts for 'treasure'Simon Bourne on the Thames foreshore where he hunts for 'treasure'

“I found his name and address in the 1911 population census,” Simon told the Advertiser. “He was 18 years old in the census. He served in the Royal Flying Corps in 1914.

“I would like to find out what happened to him and if he has any family left who I could return the tag to.”

The tag also identifies that Posener was Jewish. His address in the Commercial Road in 1911 was in the heart of the East End’s Jewish community.

“I don’t know how the tag ended up in the Thames,” Simon added. “Perhaps he was returning by ship at the end of the war and lost it overboard.

“Whatever the story, I’d like to trace his descendants and return it to them.”

The tag is solid silver, polished and engraved on one side, the reverse being the ‘tail’ side of a French franc.

Nathan would have been one of an elite of military aviators in the British Army’s Royal Flying Corp at the start of the 1914-18 War, which consisted of just four aeroplane squadrons, the first fixed-wing squadrons in the world, and an observation balloon squadron, the forerunner of the RAF formed in 1918.


[photographs: Paul Rivett, mudlarker]

Latest East London News Stories

3 minutes ago

Kids were climbing the wall in east London at Swanlea School’s fifth annual family day.


Applications have opened for free training in film and TV production for people in east London who are unemployed or on low pay.


People living in Tower Hamlets have the second highest levels of problem debt in the country, a survey has revealed.


“Another day, another dollar,” says a man in a blue and grey jacket as we arrive at the world’s biggest arms fair.

Detectives investigating the murder of Marvin Couson - who died 13 years after he was shot in Shoreditch - believe he might have been an innocent victim in a dispute between rival criminal gangs from London and Birmingham.

If you haven’t entered the Thames Gateway Business Awards yet, you’re in luck - the deadline for two categories has been extended.

Detectives investigating the sexual assault of a teenage girl in Bethnal Green have released CCTV footage in a bid to trace a man they suspect of attacking her.

Yesterday, 17:04

The Duke of Cambridge quizzed recovering addicts about their thoughts on legalising drugs during a visit to a Shoreditch recovery charity today.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now