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

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

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.

“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.”

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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]

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