Germany

Memorial Marks The Spot WWII RAF Bomber Crew Was Shot Down

Surviving relatives and a former German anti-air battery operator have gathered 76 years on.

A Second World War RAF bomber crew has been honoured in south west Germany at the site it crashed and its airmen lost their lives.

People near Waldsee in Germany have paid for a permanent memorial to honour the seven men of the Royal Air Force's No 10 Squadron Halifax, who were killed on a mission to bomb Mannheim during the Second World War.

Five British and two Canadians died on that fateful journey from RAF Melbourne in Derbyshire, September 5 1943.

Seventy-six years later, families have attended a ceremony at the site of the crash - pinpointed by a historical research group.

Werner Raubenheimer's diary recalls the night of the incident.

Niece of Denis D'Eath, Joan Taylor, said: "It's been seventy-six years on the 5th or 6th September - not quite sure - it's an awful long time for a lot of forgiveness."

Also in attendance was Werner Raubenheimer.

He was a 16-year-old German schoolboy at the time, left to man anti-aircraft batteries whilst soldiers were at the front.

"In 4,500 metres height there was an aircraft coming and it got real fire from us so we were shooting at it with all batteries and soon it was burning” reads his diary, which accounts for the night of the incident.

He told Forces News: "When we hit one we were ecstatic, it was exciting, to us the British and Americans were evil.

"We were 15, 16, 17 years-old."

Now, Mr Raubenheimer joined families in honoring the pilots.

Halfiax Bomber Crew Memorial near Waldsee

Britain's Air Attache in Germany Group Captain Mark Heffron read out the names of the pilots.

"Flying Officer McPherson, Pilot Officer D'Eath, Sergeant Astin, Sergeant Cooper, Sergeant Dee, Sergeant Hennig and Sergeant Kearnes were all lost."

The No 10 Squadron bomber was one of 600 involved in a raid over Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.

Erik Wieman, Historic Crash Site Researcher at Rhineland-Palatinate Historical Research Community, works closely with academics and archaeologists.

He explained: "During this bombing mission they were hit by flak over Mannheim-Neckeraum and they made a big turn, just flew in this direction here, flew over the village and crashed here right behind me."

More than 20 crash sites have been identified by the group.