The recovery of ED427

A great deal of very careful research by various groups and individuals shows that this information refers to Lancaster ED427.

Two bodies were recovered from crashsite in April 1943 and buried in Mannheim. In 1947 the MREU (Missing Research & Enquiries Unit) exhumed these bodies but could not positively identify them and they were buried in Durnbach as "Unknowns".

Although the following story refers to the crew of ED427 there were only five bodies remaining to be discovered.


The location of Laumersheim


The story was first taken up by the German press

Images courtesy of "Arbeitsgruppe Vermisstenforschung"

For a translation of this article click this link (opens in a new window)

Images courtesy of "Arbeitsgruppe Vermisstenforschung"

For a translation of this second article click this link (opens in a new window)

Images courtesy of "Arbeitsgruppe Vermisstenforschung"

The first detailed examination of the crashsite in Laumersheim and the sourrounding area two years ago (2010).
At that time, the team found several hundreds bits of aluminium and perspex scattered all over the area around the crashsite.

Images courtesy of "Arbeitsgruppe Vermisstenforschung"

In the foreground Uwe Benkel is using a detector to examine the soil for bigger objects. In the middle, to the right to the mini-bus the place where the digger would eventually open the soil two years later.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The digger, shortly after opening the soil, when the first traces of rotten aluminium were visible.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The digger going deeper into the former crater which was caused by the impact and later filled up with stones and building rubble.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The original crater (which was caused by the impact of the front section of ED427) was filled up with stones and building rubble.
Inside the hole are members of the investigation team around Uwe Benkel.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The first big parts of rotten aluminium to be recovered were separated from the building rubble

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

A broken gear wheel from of one of the four Merlin engines

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

Two oxygen bottles from the Lancaster. Under the bottles are some pieces of tyres and other different parts

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The heavily damaged Merlin Engine.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

An unidentified technical part. The brass plate is still gleaming as if it was brand new. The words on the plate read: "DO NOT OIL"

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The litte poppy cross was given to me by Dominic Howard two years ago (when he visited Germany and we searched for ED702) I promised to place it at the crashsite when we unearthed ED427

Photograph by Dominic Howard

The remembrance cross given to the excavation group for their ceremony was presented by Dominic Howard on behalf of the 49Sqn Association.

Photographed by Peter Schreiber

The conclusion of the digging.
The remains of the crew were placed in a single coffin below the poppy cross.
The research team and Bundeswehr reservists stand around to hold a moment of silence for the crew.

The Association wishes to thank Peter Schreiber for his photographs and descriptions

Several UK newspapers and the American Military carried the story



The most researched article comes from the Daily Mail of Saturday 29th September 2012


The full (and very interesting) text of the article by Guy Walters can be read as a PDF which can either be downloaded or opened in a new window

Click the icon opposite to open the file or 'Right click' and choose 'Save Target As'.

The story approaches its conclusion

23rd October 2012 Grünstadt, Germany:
British military police took custody of the remains found at the site of a World War II bomber crash and will attempt to identify them for possible internment in a British war cemetery in Germany.

A spokesman for British Forces Germany said it could be years before the remains — believed to be from the crew of a British Lancaster bomber that crashed west of Mannheim in 1943 — are positively identified.

A press release from British Forces Germany’s Headquarters said, in part: “In due course, if the remains are confirmed as those of the aircrew they will be buried with respect, dignity and full military honours in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.”

The conclusion

On Wednesday 21st October 2015 the crew of ED427 were laid to rest with full military honours in the Durnbach CWGC cemetery.

The single coffin carrying the remains of the crew.

The coffin is buried next to the new headstones.

The seven crew members of ED427.

Not forgotten.