Search to find family of war crash victim

Sgt Barnard
Sgt Barnard

More than seven decades after a fatal wartime bomber crash in Germany a team of investigators are trying to trace the story of the one surviving crewmen.

The Stirling bomber was shot down over German soil in September 1943.

Pilot Alex Brown, gunner Harry Barnard and bomb aimer David Badcock

Pilot Alex Brown, gunner Harry Barnard and bomb aimer David Badcock

There were seven men on board the plane - and six were killed in the crash, with only gunner Sgt Harry Barnard surviving, as he leapt from the plane, parachuting to safety seconds before disaster.

Sgt Barnard was from Ramsey, and now German crash investigators are hoping to be able to trace his family.

The team have discovered Sgt Barnard survived the rest of the conflict as a prisoner of war, but eventually died in the 1970s.

Erik Wieman, from the team of investigators said: “We have found the site and are planning an excavation shortly.

“After the excavation we plan a memorial, like we do at all crash sites we have excavated.

“We want to make this almost forgotten site, and the sacrifices that were made here, the soldiers that were killed here, visible again.

“The descendants, families of the crew usually do not know what happened, or where exactly. We want to change this and tell them about our find, and our plans for a memorial for their family members.”

The former soldier - originally from the Netherlands - became interested in the crash sites after he moved to Germany with his wife in 1992.

“So many people died in these fields and nobody knows about it. I thought, I have to do something to change this.”

Sgt Barnard was married to Mrs V. Barnard, and was father of Graham and Michael.

They lived at 27 West Avenue, Ramsey, and it is believed he could have had family in Romford, Essex.

While Sgt Barnard survived, the other six crew died in the crash.

Three of the men were from the UK, with two from Middlesex and one from Aberdeen.

The other three crew were from New Zealand.

The team have already made contact with families of the New Zealand crew members, and with the descendants of pilot Flight Sgt Andrew Brown, from Scotland.

The other crew members were navigator Flight Sgt Alex Holms, wireless operator/air gunner Warrant Officer Adrian Douglas, and bomb aimer Flight Sgt David Badcock, all from New Zealand, air gunner Sgt Henry Saunders and flight engineer Sgt Douglas Guest.

The bomber was shot down on the night of September 5/September 6 1943 near Ludwigshafen in Germany.

Anyone with information that can help the investigation, should contact Erik at Erik.Wieman@gmail.com

For more details visit www.ig-heimatforschung.de