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"Thanks for a christian gesture"

"...to the citizens of Oerie. John Keen, a former member of the 491st Bomb Group of the United States Air Force, wishes to thank you and all the other inhabitants of Oerie for the Christian and human deed you performed in November 1944 after a B-24 crashed without survivors....."

from Herold 13/1990

"One of these days Hannelore Pohl from Oerie received a remarkable letter from the United States.As the sender addressed himself to all, altough in the first place to the elderly, people of Oerie the content can be made public.

'To Hannelore Pohl and the citizens of Oerie. John Keen, a former member of the 491st Bomb Group of the United States Air Force, wishes to thank you and all the other inhabitants of Oerie for the Christian and human deed you performed in November 1944 after a B-24 crashed without survivors. John Keen, the commander of the B-24 squadron to which this bomber belonged, wishes you and your fellow citizens all the best for the future and all the happeness this life can offer you. May God bless you. Charles E. Johnston, for the 491st Bomb Group.'

It's a touching letter as there are certainly few people left who remember these troublesome days. What has happened? Eyewitnesses report that on All Souls' Day in November 1944 a B-24 bomber crashed between the Orie and Jeinser woods. None of the nine crew members survived. People from Oerie must have lifted the perished airmen out of the burned-out wreck and buried them on the local cemetery.

After the war these airmen were reinterred in the big American military cemetery in the Ardennes near Liege and, with exception of the pilot David Bennet, the radio-operator Pete Patrick and the engineer Norman Warford, reinterred again in the Unites Sates.

In July 1989 Hannelore Pohl was coincidently addressed by an American lady who was looking in Oerie for the grave of a crew member of this crashed aircraft.Grateful that even in these difficult days the people of Oerie performed such an act of Christian neighbourly love she obviously informed the still alive squadron leader who expressed his appreciation in these warm sentences."