Sat, 04 Jun 1994

Remains of British MIA handed over

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia yesterday handed over the recently uncovered remains of a British servicemen who died fighting the Japanese in Riau 50 years ago.

The remains of Royal British Navy commando Lt. Gregor Riggs were handed over by Head of the Indonesian Armed Force's Center for Character Building, Brig. Gen. Abdullah Hadi, to the British government through Charles Gray, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Riggs, died during a World War II attack on a Japanese warship. He was shot on Marapas Island where he was buried by a local resident. It was only discovered on Wednesday and flown from Tanjungpinang to Jakarta.

Col. Brian Nicholson, defense attache to the British embassy, said Riggs was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire from Marapas on Nov. 5, 1944, during the Rimau Operation against a Japanese warship at Singapore's Keppel Port. The entire 24-man squad in the operation was killed in the attack, Nicholson said.

Riggs was born in Perth, Scotland on June 2, 1924 and was a voluntary reserve of the Royal British Navy and a submarine instructor, Nicholson told the Antara news agency. He was survived by two daughters, who now live in Perth.

According to Col. Antonius S. who located the burial site along with officials from the British embassy, Riggs was found and buried by Achap, now 72, shortly after his plane crashed.

It was Achap and 64-year-old Mr. Weller from Malaysia who led them to the grave.

Riggs' body was sought upon the request of his nephew, a request extended through the British government.

Riggs' body will be buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Singapore, where his comrades are buried.(pwn)