Search for family of Sheffield airman killed over Germany in Second World War

A team of researchers from Germany are trying to find the family of a Sheffield pilot who died in a plane crash during the Second World War.

The list of the six crew members who died in the crash.
The list of the six crew members who died in the crash.

Sgt Stanley Braybrook was one of seven crew members on a Halifax Mk V bomber shot down over the villages of Hassloch and Lachen-Speyerdorf in the Rhineland-Palatinate on the night of April 16, 1943.

Sgt Braybrook and five other men died in the crash, with the one survivor being taken as a prisoner of war.

Members of the IG Heimatforschung Rheinland-Pfalz, or Historical Research Community Rhineland-Palatinate group, are trying to find information about Sgt Stanley Braybrook, from Sheffield, who died when his plane crashed in Germany in 1943. A photo of the original crash site.

The Sheffield-born flight engineer's identity was discovered by a group of researchers known as the IG Heimatforschung Rheinland-Pfalz, or Historical Research Community Rhineland-Palatinate, who investigate crash sites.

And the team now hope to learn more about Sgt Braybrook by finding any surviving relatives in his home city.

Erik Wieman, 48, is one of the researchers working on the project. He was born in the Netherlands but moved to Germany in 1992.

He said: "During the process of excavating we hope to find parts and personal items we can link to the crew - maybe personal items we can return to the families.

IG Heimatforschung Rheinland-Pfalz co-founders Peter Berkel and Erik Wieman.

"We want to tell them what happened in 1943 so they can find closure.

"Many relatives do not know what happened, under what circumstances their relatives died, and where.

"We want to contact as many relatives as possible."

The group aims to create a memorial to the airmen at the crash site 'so no-one will pass this spot not knowing anymore'.

Wreckage found at the crash site.

So far they know Sgt Braybrook's RAF number, 653562, and that he was the son of John Arthur and Florence Braybrook, of Sheffield.

They believe his plane was on its way to the Czech city of Plzen to bomb the Skoda factory when it was shot down by a German fighter, possibly flown by Oberfeldwebel Stöber.

The team has already discovered more about one member of the crew, a Canadian flight sergeant called Allen Ross, thanks to an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

If you know anything about Sgt Braybrook or his descendants, e-mail [email protected]. To find out more about the crash, visit www.ig-heimatforschung.de.

The crash site.

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Members of the IG Heimatforschung Rheinland-Pfalz, or Historical Research Community Rhineland-Palatinate group, are trying to find information about Sgt Stanley Braybrook, from Sheffield, who died when his plane crashed in Germany in 1943. A photo of the original crash site.
IG Heimatforschung Rheinland-Pfalz co-founders Peter Berkel and Erik Wieman.
Wreckage found at the crash site.
The crash site.