Lincolnshire

WW2 Lancaster bomber returns from Germany to home base

Avro Lancaster setting out on a bombing mission Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The aircraft set off on a mission to bomb Bremen but was shot down on the return trip

The wreckage of a Lancaster bomber that crashed in Germany during World War Two has been brought back to the airfield from which it flew.

The Lancaster PD214 set off on what was meant to be the crew's last operational mission from RAF Metheringham in Lincolnshire in October 1944.

But the plane lost contact with the base and it never returned and the crew was listed as missing.

Earlier this year, the remains were found beneath a field near Bremen.

The find came after family members of one of the crew asked the German authorities for permission to carry out an archaeological excavation at the site before a planned building scheme began.

Eight crew members lost their lives in the crash - but only two of their bodies were recovered.

Image caption The wreckage of the aircraft has been returned to Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre

Julie Barton, granddaughter of crew member flight engineer Ronald Barton, said the German authorities had been really helpful in dealing with the family's request.

Speaking at Metheringham airfield during a visit to see the wreckage, she said: "It's been an incredibly emotional day to see the place the plane took off from in 1944.

"To walk into what would have been the gymnasium at the time and see the parts of the plane laid out in front of us was very emotional."

Rod Sanders, curator at Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre, said: "You could say, spiritually, we've brought the boys home to Metheringham."

Describing the aircraft's last flight, Mr Sanders said: "She took off on the evening of the 6/7 October 1944 to carry out a raid on the docks at Bremen.

"Sadly, on the return trip she got a few miles south of Bremen and was shot down, crashing in a field close to the village of Cloppenburg."

RAF Metheringham was the wartime home to 106 Squadron.

Image caption Last year, a plaque to seven crew members shot down on board another Lancaster was erected at the airfield

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