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Wednesday, October 14, 1998 Published at 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK


German WWII pilot laid to rest on Teeside

Many British ex-servicemen honoured Herr Richter at the ceremony

An airman who died in World War II has finally received a ceremonial burial - 56 years after his death and in the country he was trying to bomb.

Heinrich Richter was on a raid to bomb the Skinningrove Ironworks on Teeside in 1942 when his plane was brought down. He was aged 31.

At the time, three crewmen were found near the wreckage and subsequently buried.

But Mr Richter's body was only found when builders unearthed the plane's wreckage last December. Fragments of a name tag and German war records identified the body as that of pilot Heinrich Richter.

[ image: Hans Mondorf prasied the spirit of reconciliation]
Hans Mondorf prasied the spirit of reconciliation
British veterans attended his funeral on Wednesday at a war cemetery in Teeside - along with the German Consul and diplomatic officials.

The funeral service was said in both German and English at St Peter's Church in Middlesbrough - just 400m from where his plane crashed.

Hans Mondorf, the German Consul General, said during the service: "I have travelled a great deal in Europe and it is not uncommon to find hatred against the former enemy - and particularly against Germans. This is understandable."

After what was a ceremony borne out of a spirit of reconciliation, one of the mourners present said: "I did not know this man. But why shouldn't we - as a nation - put what happened in the Second World War to rest and honour their dead."

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