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WORLD WAR

Danish schoolboy finds buried German WW2 aircraft and pilot

A boy in the North Jutland town of Birkelse made an unexpected discovery when doing his history homework.

Danish schoolboy finds buried German WW2 aircraft and pilot
The North Jutland field where the crashed WW2 plane was found. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix

Daniel Rom Kristiansen uncovered the wreckage – as well as the remains of the pilot – after being told by his father to ‘go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed in the field’.

Klaus Kristiansen told local news station DR P4 Nordjylland that his grandfather once mentioned that a German plane had crashed in the fields behind their farm during the Second World War.

“When my son Daniel was recently given homework about World War II, I jokingly told him to go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed out in the field,” said agricultural worker Kristiansen.

The schoolboy and his dad promptly headed into the fields with a metal detector – initially just for fun, since Kristiansen believed that the wreckage had long since been removed.

But the pair then began finding bits of wreckage.

“We tried carefully digging with a trencher. More and more parts came up and the further we went, the more we found,” Kristiansen said to DR.

After the amateur excavation turned up the remains of bones, the authorities were called, reports broadcaster DR.

Police, bomb disposal experts and even German embassy representatives all arrived at the scene.

“We also found documents and papers in the pockets of some clothes,” Kristiansen explained.

The father and son that discovered the aircraft. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix

The aircraft discovered by the Kristiansens is a Messerschmidt Bf 109, a model used in large numbers by the Luftwaffe during World War II.

Kristiansen told DR that his family had worked on the land where the fighter plane was found for “20-30 years” without have any idea of the secret under the ground.

“Luckily my son has something to write about in his assignment now. He’s actually been given the day off school today so that he can watch the police and bomb disposal people working. It’s quite exciting for all of us,” said Kristiansen.

WORLD WAR

German pilot from buried Denmark WW2 aircraft identified

The pilot of a crashed Messerschmidt found buried in a northern Jutland field earlier this month has been identified. He was 19 years old.

German pilot from buried Denmark WW2 aircraft identified
Wunderlich was flying a Messerschmidt Bf 109 similar to the one in this photo. Nyvlt_art/Depositphotos

Pilot Hans Wunderlich was 19 years old when his fighter plane crashed over the Danish village of Birkelse.

The wreckage of the aircraft and the pilot's remains were discovered earlier this month by a local schoolboy and his father walking through fields near their home.

German national information office Deutsche Dienststelle told local news media Nordjyske that authorities had been unable to locate either serial numbers on the aircraft’s fuselage or the identity tags the pilot would have been wearing around his neck.

But the Berlin organisation was eventually able to identify the young man using a soldier’s log book and a hand-written name on the cover of a food coupon booklet recovered from the crash site.

Hans Wunderlich, 19 at the time of the crash, was born in Neusorg, a small town in the state of Bavaria, around 200km north of Munich, on July 22nd 1925.

The crash happened on October 10th 1944, according to German archives, which record a “deadly crash in marshy terrain. Excavation work was postponed, since this was in vain.”

The aircraft would not be excavated until Danish schoolboy Daniel Rom Kristiansen found it using a metal detector over 70 years later.

The pilot’s death was officially recorded on March 5th 1945 at Holenbrunn City Hall, in the municipality where Wunderlich’s father, also called Hans Wunderlich, lived.

Wunderlich’s parents died many years ago and the young pilot was unmarried with no children. His only sibling, a sister, died in 2006, also without children.

With no surviving close relatives or ancestors, authorities were left with no family members to inform of the discovery of pilot and aircraft, Lieutenant Colonel Hans Söchtig of Deutsche Dienststelle told Nordjyske.

Wunderlich’s remains are currently being kept at Aarhus University’s Department of Forensic Medicine. The German War Graves Commission (Volksbundes Deutsche Krigsgräberfürsorge) in Kassel, which is responsible for burying Second World War soldiers, will make the decision on the pilot’s final resting place.

He is “likely to be laid to rest at a war cemetery in Denmark,” Söchtig told Nordjyske.