On a hot summer day in 1989 Hannelore Pohl met three strangers in the cemetery in Oerie.They asked her if she perhaps knew if American airmen were buried there.

Three of the visitors were Danes, the other an American lady. They were looking for a bomber crew. Mrs. Pohl knew that the airmen had been reinterred at the end of the war but had no idea where.

She showed the three visitors the crash site behind the woods of Oerie and told them the story of November 1944.

Mrs. Else Mensing, Hannelore Pohl's mother, who had been present when the crash happened told them her personal story: The 24 years old had been on her bicycle on the way from Bennigsen to Oerie.

When going through neighbouring village Hüpede she saw several foreign soldiers (probably survivors of the crashed "The Unlinited") standing in a ditch under guard of a couple of men. She wanted to bring flowers to the cemetery of Oerie on this "Remember the Dead" Sunday.

On the road leading to the farm of her future husband Heinrich Mensing, she learned that an aircraft had probably crashed behind the woods of Oerie. Driven by curiosity she went with her sister-in-law Hilde into this forest. Having arrived there, they discovered that they were the first to visit the crash site.

The nose of the aircraft had plowed into the field and the wings had broken off. When approaching the wreck they saw the burned and still buckled up corpses of the crew.

The pilots were in their seats. Totally upset they cycled home and told the people in the village what they had seen. That was all Else Mensing learned about the crew.

Some weeks later a certain Charles K. Johnson wrote a letter to Hannelore Pohl on behalf of John T. Keen, a former member of the 491st Bomb Group, thanking her for her assistance in the search of the crew members. You can read what he wrote in the following article.

John T. Keen, member of the 491st Bombing Group in front of a B-24


The American lady, Sue A. Thornton, later wrote to the Chronicle of the Bomb an account of her visit to Oerie. The complete story of Sue A. Thornton can be read here.