Many people will have heard of the events of 10th /11th May 1941, when a German Heinkel Bomber came down in a field in Earlswood. The story of what happened has been researched over many years and many eye witness accounts have been gathered and are housed at Earlswood Village Museum.
In August 2015 news came through to Earlswood Village Museum from Germany. Alfred Moos, the nephew of a member of the Heinkel Bomber Crew was seeking to find out what happened to his Uncle Fritz Muhn on that fatal night in May when the Heinkel crashed. The family knew only that Fritz was killed in the crash. Contact was made with the family and details of the events and eye witness accounts were sent to Germany with photographs of the crash site and the final resting place of the crew, at the German War Cemetery at Cannock Chase. In return the family have sent photographs of the crew. Fritz was aged 23 and he was due to return home to marry his sweetheart Rosil, but sadly he never returned.
The only survivor of the crash was Rudolph Budde, who managed to get out of the wreckage. He was wounded and badly burned, but after being rescued by the brave Civil Defence Rescue Squad who entered the burning plane in an effort to save the crew amid exploding ammunition Budde was taken to hospital, where he was treated before being taken prisoner. He eventually returned home after the war and died in 2003.
We know from Rudolph Budde’s evidence that the mission was to bomb Longbridge, where they were building Lancasters. Their instructions were to follow the railway line and find Bartley Green Reservoir then Longbridge. They found the wrong railway line and Earlswood Lakes and while they were looking for the target they were picked up by the searchlights and fired at by the Home Guard Lewis Gun.
We have always hoped that relatives of the crew would make contact with Earlswood Village Museum. It was unlikely after so many years that this would happen until recently. By strange coincidence Alfred Moos was on a visit to the UK for a Twinning Association. During the visit he told the coach driver about his uncle and the coach driver googled the name and found the Earlswood Village Museum Web Site and so the contact was made. Alfred’s family had no details of how the crash happened, or where the crew’s last resting place was. It has in some way given the family closure. Alfred contacted the German press and an article with photographs has appeared in the newspapers. We hope this will enable other families to contact us.
Alfred is planning a return visit to the UK and looks to forward to meeting us at the Museum in 2016.