An emotional plea has gone out to the residents of Angus to try to track down descendants of an RAF pilot who lost his lifewhen his aircraft crashed in Germany during the Second World War.
Erik Wieman, a crash site researcher from Germany, is hoping to trace the relatives of the pilot who hailed from Kirriemuir.
The airman was among the seven mixed-Commonwealth crew who died when their Stirling bomber disappeared without trace 75 years ago – until now.
Mr Wieman, working with his country’s archaeological services, has found the crash site near the industrial city Ludwigshafen, which sits on the river Rhine.
The aircraft was piloted by Flight Sergeant Andrew Angus Brown of the Royal Air Force.
The research has found four crew members were from Great Britain and three from New Zealand.
The aircraft crashed in the early hours of September 6 1943 and all crew except one, Harry Barnard, were killed.
Mr Wieman is trying to trace the pilot’s descendants to invite them to a memorial service so the servicemen get the recognition they deserve.
He said: “We have found the site with the help of a contemporary witness.
“We are planning an excavation shortly. After the excavation we plan a memorial, like we do at all crash sites we have excavated.
“We want to make this almost forgotten site – and the sacrifices that were made here, the soldiers that were killed here – visible again.
“The descendants, families of the crew usually do not know what happened, or where.
“We want to change this and tell them about our find and our plans for a memorial for their family members.
“One of the crew members, the pilot, should have family in Kirriemuir, Scotland.”
Mr Wieman’s research discovered Flight Sergeant Brown was the son of George and Christina Brown who hailed from Culter in Aberdeen.
He had a least one son, called Andrew.
He continued: “The brothers of Flight Sergeant Brown were George, James and William and his sisters were Christine and Robina.
“We researched the son of pilot Brown, Andrew, and he should have a son named Robert.”
Mr Wieman has tracked down photographs of the crew members of the Stirling bomber which was designed to carry bombs into the Ruhr.
As the war progressed it was used to tow gliders in the Arnhem offensive and on D-Day.
News of the appeal for relatives of the crew who perished has spread across the world, linking Germany, Scotland and New Zealand.
It has already brought joy to one family who saw the appeal on social media.
The Ortago Daily Times, published in Dunedin, New Zealand, reported that the nephew of one of the New Zealand airmen was “overwhelmed” after being told the site where his uncle died had been found.
Alex Holms, of Waimahaka, south-east of Invercargill, who was named after his uncle Flight Sergeant Alexander Hunter Holms, learned of the discovery after his daughter saw news of the appeal on social media.
Mr Holms has always wanted to go to Germany to visit his uncle’s burial site.
He said: “Now this has warmed up again, I think I might get there.”
Local historian David Orr has made inquiries regarding the family of Flight Sergeant Brown from Kirriemuir in the hope they can travel to Germany to take part in any memorial service.
Unfortunately, so far, they have not been traced.
Can you help in the search for his descendants?
Anyone with any information can contact email@example.com
Further information on the search can be found on www.ig-heimat forschung.de
Provost promises to repay kindness of investigators
The Provost of Angus has appealed to those across the county to get behind the search for relatives of Flight Sergeant Angus Brown, pilot of the doomed bomber on its last, fateful flight.
Major Ronnie Proctor, Conservative councillor for Kirriemuir and Dean, commends the efforts of those behind the attempts to track down the pilot’s descendants to invite them to Germany for a memorial service.
He had pledged to repay their kindness in organising a fitting send-off to those those who perished during the ill-fated mission, and has extended the hand of friendship between the two nations.
Councillor Proctor, who is the Veterans’ Champion for Angus, is hopeful someone in the Kirriemuir community will recognise the names linked to Flight Sergeant Brown and will come forward.
He said: “I am pleased this site has been found so the crew can be honoured.
“I don’t recognise the names but hopefully those with an interest in the RAF may be able to track his relatives down.
“I served in Germany with the Black Watch for nearly 10 years.
“It’s great to see the German people honour the dead.”
Mr Proctor said he was pleased the past hostilities between Britain and Germany have been set aside out of respect for those who lost their lives in the wars.
He said: “This is a really generous gesture from the site investigators.
“I hope we do manage to find relatives. “If we do and some sort of memorial is held, then I would like to send a personal invitation to the Germans to come over to Angus where I know they will be well received.”