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Nachtjagd Ace Victim

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Martin Bull, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Tucked away among the displays at the Beltring fair yesterday - and almost being ignored - was a nearly-perfect 'dug-up' complete Packard Merlin engine from Lancaster EE185, 'KM-A' of 44 Squadron.

    From reading the attached information sheet, this 'Lanc' was the last to be shot down on the infamous Mailly-le-Camp raid of May 3rd, 1944 by none other than Bf110 'ace', Hauptmann Martin Drewes of III Gruppe NJG 1. On that night, Drewes and his radar operator, Unteroffizier Handke, claimed five bombers in a flight lasting just 40 minutes .

    Somehow, it was a strange feeling to be able to touch such a large relic and remember one of Bomber Command's most disastrous raids ; over two hundred RAF aircrew were killed that night.
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    This IS a bit of interesting news. I wonder what Martin Drewes might think of this if someone sent him a letter? Hmmm--maybe ill send him a printed copy of your post. Herr Drewes lives in Brazil.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I didn't realise Herr Drewes was still with us.
    The engine was really in extraordinarily good condition - must assume it came down in marshland to be so well-preserved.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Don't be surprised if his response will be somewhat negative.....in other words who cares, it was too many years ago.
    This has been the responses of many night crews on both sides. They or He would care if you could get the former crews of the downed Lanc in touch with him.
    E
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Sadly, in this case the crew went down with the aircraft.
     
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Erich's comments sounded hard and hurting. But I stand with him, because it is the truth. :(
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    My comments did sound rash, and they were not suppose to be that way, so please do not take offense. I have just found that many of the German pilots, both day and night are getting burned out/ not wanting to talk anymore of their WW 2 careers, and getting them to open up via letters is getting very tiresome for them. It is much better to e-mail them but many don't have a computer, talk to them by phone or even better yet, see them by appointment. The best scenario is to try and get invited to one of the day/night fighter treffens(reunions),held each year in Germany.......I wish !!

    E
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    No offence taken here, Erich. I'm quite sure you're right about Herr Drewes and other veterans - being constantly asked to 'dredge up the past' must be irritating.

    But from speaking to veterans ( especially, over here, Bomber Command veterans ) they like to know that someone 'remembers'.
    And seeing this bomber engine on what was a very nice 'day out' pulled me up and made me do just that - remember .
     
  9. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    If you want his address--I have it--just lemme know. What Erich says makes sense. The vets arent like what we are--they lived it, and we are TRYING to relive it.
     
  10. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    And they do not want other people to live the horrible things they lived. I agree with them. And I didn't mean either to cause anything bad here.
     
  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    It is a strange thing that I have found the last 5 years, and Martin is a good egg to ask questions as he is one of the few that still corresponds favourably. Many of the German vets want to know ...why the questions and what I will be doing with the materials. There is the fear that their stoires will be published without their right of copyright. I always have to write a huge long paragraph as to whom I am and my interest and why I am writing, and this usually passes off nicely to them since I try my best to give them the honour they so deserve. It is sad when the wife takes the letter(s) though and just throws them away and states that their husband has no time for correspondance. "He fought his war and does not want to repeat it again" ! A big problem for the German vets that so many would-be authors have ripped them off of their original photos, and documents not to be seen ever again. So much for author's honesty.... :mad:

    E
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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  13. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Is the Merlin engine destined to be a museum piece ? Also of note is that the a/c of this engine was on loan for a dam-busters raid !! the a/c and crew served on several natsy missions it seems.

    thumbs up gents !

    E
     
  14. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Yes, it's quite a relic, having survived the Peenemunde Raid and fourteen Berlin ops.

    It's part of a private collection which includes a reconstructed Lancaster nose section ; the collection is displayed at various military history events during the summer months.
     
  15. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin :

    Is the touring museum only of parts of Lancasters, Hali's, etc ? with included background history to each part I suppose, correct ? Only in the UK ?

    man this would be great if this was in the US on a tour !

    E
     
  16. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Lancasters only, as far as I can remember - I'll have to find out where it's going to be on show this year.

    In the USA, I guess it'd be a much bigger and more professionally presented affair - there's more money available ! :rolleyes: ;)
     
  17. Paul Errass

    Paul Errass Member

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    Just to follow up some of the comments,i had the Honour to meet Nachtjager RKT mit EL Heinz Rokker last year ,who is a very charming man, and he told me that he is still in regular touch with the remaining crew members of a Lancaster that he shot down,he has been friends with them for many years.

    To take up Erich's point about veterans wives,i also met Swords Winner Waldemar von Gazen who signs photos in person,but will never respond to mail sent to his home or send out any signed photos etc to anyone.Having seen his wife i suspect that is a result of her being the "Chef" of the house,a small but fearsome lady!!!! who firmly despatched someone trying to get a photo signed.

    Having said that i've also met veterans wives who are more than willing to help their men in answering post and sending out photos including entertaining visitors and will even correspond on behalf of their man if he is ill etc. [​IMG]


    Paul
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin, thank you. Please advise the Lancaster relics folks to please bring their treats here to the US of A ! ;)

    Greetings Paul ! Yes you are quite correct here as well.......some wives just have a kick that their hubbies are taken notice of and honored in such a way as interviews. I remember when I interviewed some 5 years agao the commanding officer of the 425th nfs US living in northern Oregon. His dayghter a gorgeous blonde couldn't believe that someone would be interested in what her father had done and achieved, she nearly fell off her chaie when the two of us started talking about his days some 50 plus years ago. Much of it he had never shared in her presence. What I found very interesting is one mission that he flew in march of 45 he had a beautiful bounce on 5 Ju 87D's, sitting right behind these NSGr 1or 2 a/c he and his radar operator were ready to give the blow when the 4 20mm's jammed, and all they could do was watch the 5 German a/c go into a slight curve and defence modes before they made a ground attack on several Allied ground column's. As "Gilly" Lewis told me the two of them were so upset that they nearly cried, as it would of been quite a feat and they would of become aces this night......
    incidently speaking of Heinz Rökker, I received a beautiful letter by him several weeks ago detailing in depth his final kill and that over a Mossie intruder (which of course we are using for our book)with his permission of course ! :D

    E
     
  19. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Erich, I think you'll have to come over here : 'If the mountain won't come to Mohamet...' ;)

    As a small postcript to your last point, in my collection I have a signed stamp cover depicting a Mosquito and signed by Heinz Rokker for the Mosquito Museum a few years ago.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    I think you are right my friend ! How about in 5 years eh ? Many folks to visit including relatives in Germany......

    That last item mentioned is very special. hang onto it ! A little something to go along with the item.....

    Heinz Rökker pilot
    Carlos Nugent radar operator
    Hanns Mattur observer
    Fritz Wefelmeier beobachter/rear gunner

    14 March 1945 after shooting down his last 4 enigne bomber with Schräge Musik he was engaged by a Mossie intruder over St. Trond, and he winged over and let the Moosie pass and got in behind with his forward firing 20mm's and shot it down at 21.34 hours. Heinz was flying Ju 88G-6 coded 4R+CK, and he was evidently hit by fire from the Mossie on it's pass as he had difficulty landing with the temperature guage of the right engine going sky-ward, a small fire started and it was a tense landing at Vechta.

    E
     

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