© Stephen H Garrity (2014)
THE CRASH SITE
The aircraft crashed just outside the town of Meijel, the insert showing the parts of the town that were impacted.
Recovered from the German War Archives, German soldiers inspect the wing of my aircraft, June 17, 1944
This report was derived from the original intelligence reports that gave credit to Hptm. G Wagner as the pilot that shot down the aircraft. Post war research revealed the aircraft was shot down by Hauptmann (Captain) Heinz Strüning with his navigator, Sergeant Apel. A translation of the German reports confirms the location and the date and time.
Hauptmann Heinz Strüning
Shaking hands with Adolph Hitler. Oak Leaves award ceremony with Hitler for Luftwaffe officers were held on July 25, 1944 in Führerhauptquartier Wolffschanze. From left to right : Major Herbert Lamprecht, Hauptmann Wilhelm Batz and Hauptmann Heinz Strüning.
Heinz Strüning (13 January 1912 – 24 December 1944) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Strüning shot down 56 aircraft in 280 missions. All of his victories were recorded at night.
At about 6 pm on the evening of 24 December 1944 his Messerschmitt Bf 110 was shot down by 10-kill ace F/L R.D. Doleman and F/L D.C. Bunch of No. 157 Squadron RAF in a de Havilland Mosquito Intruder while he tried to attack a Lancaster bomber over Cologne. He bailed out but struck the tail of his plane and fell to his death. His body was found two months after his death.
During his career, Hauptmann Heinz Strüning had made 280 combat missions (250 at night), and claimed 56 victories at night.
The Cemetery in Venlo
June 16 / 17 44
George Johnson, Vernon O'Bright
E.C. Green, W.R. Chapman, R.W. Jones, D Shenton