German crash site researcher hoping to trace Romford relatives of pilot who flew downed Allied bomber
- Credit: Archant
A German researcher investigating the recently discovered crash site of a Second World War Allied bomber is attempting to trace living relatives of the only pilot to survive the incident – and believes they may be living in Romford.
On the night of September 5, 1943, Stirling bomber code EE872 was brought down near Ludwigshafen in Germany.
Of the seven men aboard, only one survived – Sgt Harry George Barnard, of West Avenue, Ramsey, Huntingdon.
Records show he was married to a Mrs V Barnard, and was father to two sons named Graham and Michael.
Crash site researcher Erik Wieman believes it is likely some members of Sgt Barnard’s family are now living in or around Romford, as records suggest one of his sons was living here as late as the 1990s.
Mr Wieman said: “Airman Barnard was the only one that could save himself with a parachute just seconds before the aircraft crashed.
“Unfortunately we learned he died in the 1970s, so we are looking for his descendants.
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“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.”
Researchers believe the aircraft was attacked about at 1.15am on the morning of September 6 by a German Luftwaffe night fighter.
Sgt Barnard survived the remainder of the war as a prisoner of the war, and after the war wrote to several of his deceased crew’s family members.
Three members of EE872’s crew were from New Zealand, and Mr Wieman has already been able to contact several families out there about relatives who died in the crash.
He now hopes to do the same for Sgt Barnard’s surviving relatives here in England.