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Last Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008, 13:20 GMT

WWII pilot to apologise to city

Willi Schludecker in 1942 (l) and 2007
Mr Schludecker has twice won the Iron Cross

A German Luftwaffe pilot is to apologise to an English city he bombed during World War II.

Willi Schludecker, 87, flew in raids over Bath in the so-called Baedeker Blitz of April 1942 and went on to become one of Germany's top pilots.

Mr Schludecker will make the apology during Bath's annual remembrance service on 25 April. He has already made a similar trip to York.

The raids were made in revenge for the Allies' bombing of Rostock.

Minute's silence

Chris Kilminster, 61, who lost his grandparents during attacks on the city, said: "We usually only expect about 10 people at our service - but this year there could be hundreds.

"The pilot got in touch after we advertised the memorial service online.

"I was initially reluctant to say yes but I was told he was very keen.

"MPs and the deputy mayor of Bath have said they will come."

Mr Schludecker, who flew a Dornier 217E-4, will issue an apology through an interpreter.

His speech will follow a minute's silence for the victims and a roll call of the names of all the children who perished.

Mr Schludecker, who was twice awarded the Iron Cross, flew the Dornier on 120 raids against targets in England between April and July 1942.

The raids claimed more than 400 lives in Bath and 19,000 buildings were partly destroyed. The city had a population of 68,000 at the time.

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