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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Battle of Britain foes reunited
British fighter pilots, World War Two
British fighter pilots fought against great odds
World War Two fighter pilots who shot each other down during the Battle of Britain are celebrating a new found friendship.

More than half a century after their dogfight over the skies of England, RAF Wing-Commander 'Taffy' Higginson and Luftwaffe pilot Heinz Moellenbruck met for the first time.

British fighter pilots
British figher pilots at the Battle of Britain
The former fighter pilots - now both in their 80s - met during the making of a Welsh television programme about aviation.

Herr Moellenbruck travelled to Mr Higginson's home in St Clear's, west Wales, to a warm reception from his former adversary.

The German veteran admitted he was unhappy with the war against Britain 60 years ago and he expressed his gratitude that they had both survived the conflict.

"I say Grace to our Lord that we both are still living 60 years after this."

Dozens of pilots died during the Battle of Britain in 1940, which was fought for the control of the skies over southern England.

Mr Higginson described how the day he crossed with Herr Moellenbruck as a young man above the skies of Essex.

"He was coming in from Europe along the Thames and I was going out to meet him and I shot him down and he crash landed.

'On fire'

"What I didn't realise was that he had put some incendiary bullets into the front of my aircraft.

"I shot him down and I thought that's the end of that - and suddenly, bang, and I was on fire."

"I bailed out alongside him. I was very lucky."

Herr Moellenbruck added: "We didn't like the war against GB. Hitler didn't like the war against Britain."

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15 Sep 00 | UK
'Glad those days are gone'
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