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  #61  
Old 31st January 2020, 13:36
manniw manniw is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Rolland,

that's fantastic you tracked down the son of Coker. I'm thrilled ! I'm sure he can tell us a lot about Andy Samar, we haven't been able to find out anything about him yet. I'm curious what other information he has for us.

I have compared the photo with the crew, where you can see Koker, with other photos. I have photos of Wolberg and Lidicker for comparison, there are no similarities. I don't think it shows the crew that crashed here.
Maybe the son of Koker still has some surprises for us !?

It is shocking to hear the statement with the SS-officer who wanted Koker to be shot. Please ask if Koker was really in a PW-Camp, which I can't imagine for the 24 hours. Or if he was just in a building behind enemy lines, which was used for PWs.

Also, at this time 11.04.45 I do not know of any SS-unit in Porz and its surroundings. But it was a hectic time, many soldiers from different units were pulled together to new units and all of them were in retreat...But I will get to the bottom of this.

Greetings
Manni
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  #62  
Old 31st January 2020, 15:21
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Manni, I have also contacted the son of the woman that Samar married late in life. The son said he knew that Samar had been shot down but nothing else. Samar didn't talk about it. The son did look at the photo and thinks Samar is the 5th man in the row, next to Koker but he can't be "absolutely" sure. I have looked at several of these Lake Charles photos and the crew is always standing in the order, left to right as:
Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier/Navigator, Fight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, RO/Gunner, Armorer/Tail Gunner. Thus the enlisted men are not in the order they sit in the plane (front to back) but more likely in order of rank as the flight engineers are typically Technical Sergeants.

I don't think Lidicker is in the picture as I believe he joined the crew in Europe. I am not sure about Wolberg. I believe Hopkins is on the left.

I may talk with Koker's brother this weekend.

I found some medical records for Samar on Ancestry of all places. I will get them posted to a Samar folder on the Drive today or tomorrow. Samar had a broken leg along with broken bones in his face and hands.

Last edited by RSwank; 31st January 2020 at 19:01.
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  #63  
Old 9th February 2020, 12:11
manniw manniw is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Hi, Rolland,

Sorry I haven't called in a while, I was on vacation.
I have to read all news from you now, I am pleased about the contacts you could find to the descendants of the crew. I'm curious to know what else is new.

Greetings Manni
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  #64  
Old 9th February 2020, 23:07
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Manni,

I agree that Koker was not in the POW camp as he was only a POW for 24-30 hours. From corresponding with his son, I do have a "theory" on where that story may have come from.

I have also been working on the route of Hopkins’ flight.

They flew the same route the BG took to the target at Aschersleben at the which they tried 3 times to bomb.

Then they flew on to Gusten (about 7 kilometers ENE further on) to bomb location rD670630, which they described as a rail “choke-point”. Again, they could not bomb as the PDI in the lead plane failed. That location translates via echodelta.net to 51.80357N, 11.6096E . That precise spot is the middle of a field, but about 200 meters to the south there appears to be the remains of a railroad overpass, with what was one pair of tracks going north by crossing over via the overpass another pair of tracks going roughly to the east. Today it looks like the tracks going north now end at the overpass and only the railbed is visible further to the north.

Here is the location on Google Maps.
Location of rail over-pass: 51.799806, 11.608472

You can zoom in and out and drag the map around to see the target.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/51...1!4d11.6084721
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  #65  
Old 17th February 2020, 22:57
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Manni,

Did you ever try to contact the Margraten Foundation to see if they would be willing to pass on any of the information we have on Dwyer and the crash to the adopters of his grave?

I have added a map on the Google Drive showing my best guesses on Hopkins’ Final Flight path near Cologne. It is in a section called Maps. The green arrow shows the flightpath of the 5 returning planes as they traveled through the flak zone (shown in yellow). The path in red shows Hopkins getting hit in the flak zone. He then goes south to pass over Uckendorf (which was hit when the bombs were salvoed armed). Then he turns north west for a flight to Lulsdorf. There he crash-lands the plane. The path in black is an alternate path which shows Hopkins flying a loop which passes over Uckendorf, then flying on to Lulsdorf. The black path would allow for an actual approach to Lulsdorf from the north which would agree with your statement that some in Lulsdorf thought the plane came from that direction. (Of course, it is also possible that people saw the flight of the four planes to the north and assumed that Hopkins had approached Lulsdorf from there, even if he actually flew something like the “red” path.)

Google Drive Link, see Maps: https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...1QKeLKMxgLXWpu

I have had no further replies on the contact letters I sent. None of the letters were returned, so I assume all five were delivered. Of the five families I tried to contact I have had responses from three. Two of them could not contribute much but the son of Koker was able to help.
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  #66  
Old 18th February 2020, 14:15
manniw manniw is offline
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Re: Crash B26 on 11.April 1945 near Cologne

Rolland,
I had planned to go there a fortnight ago. But the weather was too bad, we had a violent storm. I planned to go there in early March. But before that I will contact the Margraten Foundation by mail....

The map with the flight routes is very informative, thank you for that.
There were other flak positions, they were below Uckendorf at the level of Kriegsdorf 540 450 and above Uckendorf 531 486 ( Lt. G2 report 505 PIR from the beginning of April 45). But since the reports always speak of "light flak", your assumption that the flak got Hopkins in madness 518 514 is partly correct.
In the school chronicle of Lülsdorf it is only written that " an American large fighter plane has to make an emergency landing between Lülsdorf and Langel and goes up in flames "... Nothing is noted in it about an approach direction.
Also Martha Gellhorn describes only the crash, not the direction of approach.

In 1997, in the context of a school exhibition on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, a contemporary witness is quoted literally. He speaks of "a group of three American aircraft flying west from Porz, one crashes near Lülsdorf and goes up in flames". This is the only place where an approach direction is described.
I am also more willing to see the black approach route with the arc over Uckendorf than the actual route. We will probably never be able to clarify it exactly, and those we could ask are unfortunately no longer among us.
In the meantime I have looked at the school chronicle of Uckendorf, the records end on April 9th and will only be continued on April 15th. There is no mention of the bomb dropping on 11.04. in the chronicle.
But I will contact an older gentleman who might be able to tell me something.....
Concerning the arrest of Samar: There was an SS-unit in Zündorf, which guarded foreign workers and prisoners, dug the trenches and mined the banks of the Rhine....so I will now investigate if there is any information.

The son of Koker wanted to check some boxes again, maybe he'll contact you and send you a photo of the crew


The best
Manni
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