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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Historian plundered war hero's remains
Replica of a V1 flying bomb
FO George Kosh died shooting down a V1 flying bomb
An aviation historian has admitted plundering the remains of a World War II fighter pilot.

Andrew Saunders, 46, pleaded guilty to a single count of removing the remains of war hero George Kosh who died in 1944.

Saunders, of St Mary's Road, Hastings, also took a number of personal items including a bracelet and amulet from the crash site near Winchelsea in East Sussex.

Three other charges of removing parts of the aircraft, including the gunsight and cannon, will remain on file, Hove Crown Court was told on Monday.

Body dug up

Flying Officer George Edward Kosh, known as Ted, was 21 when his Hawker Tempest plane crashed on farmland as he attempted to shoot down a V1 flying bomb in July 1944.

Saunders was charged under the Protection of Military Remains Act when it was alleged the Hawker plane had been dug up and its contents stolen in September 1995.


The real victims are Flying Officer Kosh's relatives

MoD spokesman
The Ministry of Defence ordered that the crash site be dug up to discover if anything had been removed.

Mr Kosh's sister, Elizabeth Bowden, 68, watched as the remains of the Tempest were excavated by MoD officials at Rye Marsh Farm in August last year.

The family of the RAF pilot had previously believed his body had been buried in 1944 at nearby Hawkinge in Kent.

They were said to be devastated when it emerged parts of his body had been left in the plane.

'Respected historian'

At that time, an MoD spokesman said: "The excavation is being carried out to find out exactly what has been taken and to recover whatever human remains are left so that Mr Kosh can be given a final and proper burial.

"The real victims are Flying Officer Kosh's relatives."

Saunders' solicitor Lee Reeves Perrin said after an earlier hearing: "Mr Saunders is a well-known and respected aviation historian and writer.

"He has been involved at the forefront of aviation history and preservation for almost 30 years, including the founding of a leading aviation museum and the placement and dedication of various memorials to wartime airmen."

Judge David Rennie adjourned the case until Tuesday when more details of the case are expected to emerge.


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16 Oct 01 | England
11 Sep 01 | UK
14 Aug 01 | UK
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