First, plane wreckage was discovered after more than 70 years and now, more and more information is being revealed about those who were trapped inside it – including the unusual coincidence that a second of the five men was from Eastbourne.
The Herald reported earlier this month that Eastbourne airman Sergeant Peter Buck was one of five airman who died when the Halifax HR980 bomber plane they were flying in was shot down while on a night raid over Nazi Germany in August 1943.
The ill-fated plane sunk into a marsh near Gollin and has only just been pushed to the surface due to the marsh drying up.
Since its discovery, it has been revealed that one other of the bodies on board – that of a Sergeant Donald Roy Hempstock – was also from Eastbourne, son to Charles and Winifred Rose Hempstock.
Sgt Donald Hempstock, who was just 21 years old when the plane went down, held the role of the air bomber in the crew.
Including the two men who were dragged from the wreckage by enemy soldiers before it sunk, the team comprised of three nationalities: Australian, Canadian and three British – Roland Hill from Leicester and the Eastbourne pair.
A team of German archeologists has been granted permission to excavate the wreckage in a project that will cost a hefty £50,000. As a result, the families of the World War Two heroes are trying to persuade the Government to help fund the excavation, as well as give the airmen the proper burial service they deserve.
The tale of the missing airmen has attracted much interest, including that of the 158 Squadron Association, who have offered to help with the recovery process and ensure the soldiers are properly commemorated. The Halifax HR980 plan was a 158 Sq machine.