EXCLUSIVE: Daughter's relief as remains of her war hero father are discovered in Lancaster Bomber 69 years after it was shot down (From Wirral Globe)
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EXCLUSIVE: Daughter's relief as remains of her war hero father are discovered in Lancaster Bomber 69 years after it was shot down
THE family of a fallen war hero have spoken of their relief as his remains were discovered almost 70 years after he went missing.
Sergeant Norman Foster, 22, from Wallasey, was reported missing in April 1943 after the Lancaster Bomber in which he was a crew member was shot down in Germany.
Their bodies were never found and their families never knew what had happened to them.
But a team of German historians have recently managed to dig up the remains of the crewmen and parts of the aircraft in a field near Frankfurt.
And flight engineer Sgt Foster’s daughter Hazel Snedker said the news had come as a shock for her family.
Hazel, 72, who was just three years old when the tragedy happened, said: “Although I was very little at the time, I can remember my mum receiving the telegram to tell us my father was missing. We were told a few years later where the plane had come down but there was no known grave.
“Sadly, my mother passed away when I was seven and I was raised by my father’s parents and I know they always wanted to know what happened to him.
“Over the years, you learn to bury the heartache to get on with your life and after losing both parents I had to accept it. A lot of children were orphans in those days so you weren’t on your own at all.”
Lancaster ED427 was one of 327 bombers that took part in a raid on the Skoda armaments works in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.
On the way back to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, the seven-strong crew came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak.
The British Air Ministry later tried to find the crew’s remains but had no success and it was assumed the aircraft had crashed in the sea.
But now following the discovery there are plans to bury the airmen together at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany.
And grandmother-of-six Hazel said she could now finally have “closure” on her sad loss.
Hazel, who now lives in Leamington Spa, added: “They will now have a grave and be buried together which I think will definitely bring some closure to us all. Despite it being so long ago, it has affected the whole family in different ways.
“It is nice to finally know what happened on that day and how he died – he can finally be laid to rest.”
And Sgt Foster’s younger sister, Joan Barke, said she was grateful to the historians. Joan, from Upton, said: “After Norman died, my mother was never the same again and we always wondered what had happened.
“When so many years pass, you accept that you will never know so this was very welcome news.”