Locating the possible crashsite
The Church at Offenbach
I was then contacted in November 2009 by Uwe Benkel, of Flugzeugabstuerze Saarland who had seen one of the postings I had made on one of the forums asking for information on the loss of ED702. He offered to assist in the research in locating the exact scene of the crash, Uwe contacted the Mayor of Offenbach, with an article then being placed in the local newspapers, from all this he was able to confirm where ED702 had come down was near to Insheim, also that there were some eye-witnesses who remembered the aircraft crashing.
We decided to make the trip to Germany to visit where Cyril had crashed and the Church where he and the crew were first buried. With the help of Toni Stritzinger and Christian Schwein, accommodation was found in Walshiem, Arriving late afternoon on Tuesday we were met by Christian at the railway station in Landau and taken to the accommodation where we were made most welcome by the Metzger family
The Metzgers Bed & Breakfast Accomodation
The Metzger Family with Rosemary Howard, Toni Stritzinger & Christian Schwein.
We met Toni Stritzinger who was 7 years old at the time he remembered the Lancaster crashing & watching it with his grandmother. The following day he went to look at what had crashed.
On Wednesday we went into Offenbach to meet with Mayor of Offenbach Axel Wassyl, with some more residents who remembered a Lancaster coming down. All recounting their memories of that evening,
Uwe Benkel & The Mayor of Offenbach, Axel Wassyl
Rosemary Howard with Residents who witnessed the crash
With one gentleman a little saddened by the fact he remembered taking the first aid kit from the aircraft, but was unable to locate it as he wished to give it back to us. He has told me he will find it and promised to post it to me, The Mayor Axel Wassyl presented mother and I with a book on Offenbach, mother asked if all present would be kind enough to sign one of the copy’s which they all kindly did for us.
Axel Wassyl signing the 1225 Jahre Offenbach
Inside the cover
We were all also presented with a special bottle of wine produced by a member of Uwe’s team, Peter Schreiber, a bottle of which was presented to the 49 Squadron Association at this years reunion
Peter Schreiber (photo Uwe Benkel)
The picture depicts Lancaster ED702 over Offenbach 23/24 Sept 1943
We all then went to the field where it was believed ED702 had come down. Uwe, Christian & Peter proceeded to see if they could locate any of remains of the aircraft. Unfortunately with the crop still growing not a great deal could be done without causing damage. It was decided that they will return in the autumn when the crop has been harvested, the land owner has said he will phone Uwe when this happens. They did manage to find a piece of horseshoe with nail present, a part off a tractor and a piece of unknown metal
Peter, Christian & Uwe trying to locate parts of ED702 -- Toni pointing to the area where he believes ED702 came down
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