Trip to Germany, discovery of N.6020

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IWALKER
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Trip to Germany, discovery of N.6020

Post by IWALKER » Wed May 15, 2019 1:26 pm

Good morning from New York,

In April I finally made my planned trip to Germany to locate my Grandfather's (Denis Lloyd) crash site in Trier, Germany. I've posted here previously, as Denis was the sole survivor of Stirling N.6020 which crashed on August 25, 1941. Below are some quick excerpts of what we accomplished while in Germany with links to pictures for those interested. The most memorable was putting up a memorial plaque on the farmhouse where the plane had crashed. I had hoped to put it on a tree on the property, but the owners actually insisted we put it directly on their home. To date, I have successfully made contact with all but one family of Denis' flight crew and have met some amazing people and friends on this journey and research project that has spanned 5 years. Thank you for everyone on this forum that assisted me along the way.

Iain Walker


PART 1: This week Sue and I are in Trier, Germany where my Grandfather’s Stirling bomber was shot down on August 25, 1941. He was the sole survivor, as his 6 comrades didn’t survive the crash which is a story in and of itself. Trier is an amazing place. This post is Part 1 where we met with Mr. Adolf Welter who was a witness to the crash and is the local town historian. He invited us into his home, took us to lunch, and gave us several documents and pictures from the crash. We were assisted by the kind efforts of Uwe Benkel, Johanna Thomas and her boyfriend Kevin of the “Working Group for the Missing”. Meeting Uwe was great as we have been corresponding since 2014 via e-mail as part of this research project. More to follow....

• Note: Adolf had many pictures and documents ready for us and confirmed that the bomber exploded in mid-air leaving debris over a large area. He was very aware of the details of the crash and indicated that members of the Hitler Youth and were dispatched to the farm to clean up most of the wreckage. Adolf spent the day with us and visited all locations referenced herein.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/125275787@N08/ZcLk7c

PART 2: On August 25th, 1941, when my Grandfather successfully parachuted out of his Stirling bomber, he came down in a wooded area fortunately missing trees and a stream. It was pouring rain which had a lot to do with the crash due to the intense lightening and its affect on the electrical system of the plane. After attempting to make a tent out of his parachute which didn’t work, he found a path to a farm where he hid in the hayloft before being captured the next day. He was handcuffed and roughed up a bit (even by pregnant women) but nothing he couldn’t handle from what he told me. This week we found the farm, “Erlenhof” including the barn and hayloft, and the farmhouse where he was interrogated when first captured. We were not particularly welcomed here but managed to sneak a few pictures before departing the area. Many thanks again to Uwe Benkel and the “Working Group for the Missing” who made this trip possible.

• Note: This family appeared wealthy and didn’t really want us there. A staff member met us in the driveway and said she couldn’t authorize the taking of any pictures and that she would have to ask the owner. The male owner, whose name I didn’t get, yelled out the window a few times and basically said we could take a couple of pictures and leave. Just before we left, an elderly woman approached us whose name I also didn’t obtain. She was born a year after the crash and was aware of the story of the “Englishman” who was caught there and stated that her mother had told her the story. I gave her a document I prepared and had translated to German explaining the relevance of why were there but she just told me to give it to her staff member and she then ran away from us when it started to rain. As such, I didn’t get a chance to give her any of the small gifts I brought with me. I did get to see the house where Denis was interrogated when captured and the barn where he hid the night before he was captured by the Germans who were running bayonets through the hay. Denis wrote in his diary that when in the house, there were several pregnant women and he wondered if it was one of Hitler’s “stud farms”. He further wrote that the women spat on him and punched him when other planes were heard flying over. He was later turned over to the Luftwaffe.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxTiTF9

PART 3: While my Grandfather was able to parachute out and survive the war, his comrades were not as fortunate, as the bomber exploded in mid-air over a large farm. My Grandfather told me the explosion illuminated his parachute as he landed about 7 minutes away by car as referenced in Part 2. This week we were able to locate and visit a farm called Sievenicherhof which today is a horse farm and was the site of the explosion in 1941. Prior to the trip we had a memorial plaque made which I had hoped the owners would allow me to put on a tree somewhere on the property. I was blown away when they insisted we put the plaque directly on their home. Next, and over the course of two days, we metal detected the crash site and recovered parts of Stirling Bomber N6020. Truly an amazing and moving experience. Thanks again to Uwe Benkel, Johanna Thomas and her boyfriend Kevin of the “Working Group for the Missing” who made this all possible.

• Note: This was very moving. The family was so nice and hospitable and as referenced, allowed us to put the plaque right on their home. The owner is ill and has cancer. They gave us full access to their property which was gorgeous.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmCXBftB

PART 4: Part 4: The last part of our trip was a visit to the small village of Aach which is only a short drive from Trier. Here we found the small churchyard where my Grandfather’s crew was buried after the crash until they were later moved to the Rheinberg War Cemetery several years later. Aach is a beautiful, small village and the people were amazing. We attempted to locate the Borne family in which there was a daughter Anna Marie (according to a document Grandpa had in his possession which was a partial biography about Pilot Ken Blunden) who was a young girl at the time of the crash and who tended to the graves with fresh flowers for several years before they were moved. Our first stop was at a small florist shop in which the owner didn’t hesitate and left the store with us and walked us to the residences of two elderly women in the village who had intimate knowledge of the crash, the cemetery, and the residents of the village. Agnes Krein invited us into her home for over two hours and shared with us a family portrait including her two older brothers who died in the war. She also identified the man in the village who buried my grandfather‘s flight crew, Wilhelm Lorig (picture of Wilhem in the middle of the street included) who died in 1983 at 89 years of age. Sadly the Borne family no longer live in the village. We went back to Aach two more times and bought an item from the florist shop for our garden at home. As always, many thanks to Uwe Benkel, Johanna Thomas, and Kevo Sousa of the “Working Group for the Missing” who made this trip happen!

• Note: Agnes Krein was aware that the family of John David Wright had sent many packages to the Borne family after the war. She indicated that she didn’t think it would have been Anne because Anne was older and died in 1966 and would not have been a young girl at the time as referenced in the Blunden document. Agnes said the Borne family home was still in Aach but that she believed there was only one family member around who was in a different town. Sue and I loved Aach and went into the church which was gorgeous. Agnes Krein’s daughter told us she was going to see what other records, if any, were available at the church on our behalf.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmDaJcrC

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Bruno
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Re: Trip to Germany, discovery of N.6020

Post by Bruno » Wed May 15, 2019 6:27 pm

Many thanks for your contribution!
Would it be possible to publish your story with some of your photos in the magazine of the Stirling Aircraft Society?
I thank you in advance.
Regards.

Bruno
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IWALKER
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Re: Trip to Germany, discovery of N.6020

Post by IWALKER » Wed May 15, 2019 6:41 pm

Hi Bruno,

That would be great, I would like that in memory of the flight. Let me know if you need anything else from me.

Best regards,

Iain

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Re: Trip to Germany, discovery of N.6020

Post by Bruno » Sun May 19, 2019 10:47 am

Hello Ian,

Many thanks again.
Kind regards.

Bruno
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