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The recovery of Messerschmitt Me109G-14/AS, Wknr 784155 at Eefde

Luftwaffe pilot Erich Ett

Erich Ett portret 1  Erich Ett Unteroffizier  Erich Ett bij zijn proppeller 

During research in the Eefde area, the Aircraft Research Group Achterhoek(ARGA) received a tip that a Geman fighter had crashed in a field between two farmhouses at Eefdese Enkweg 17 and 19, sometime during winter 1945. After researching aerialphotographs at the Topographical Institute at Emmen it became apparent that this a/c crashed between november 29, 1944 and januari 23, 1945.

graafmachine1  Graven bij Eefe 2  Graven bij Eefde 3 Graven bij Eefde 4

A further clou was found in a message from the Air-raid warning service of the city of Zutphen on januari 14, 1945. This message contained the following statement:"At aprox. 13.50 hours a fierce air battle is taking place above the city. An aircraft is shot down at the community of Gorsel. The pilot is seen, drifting away towards the village of Brummen hanging on his parachute."

During investigation at the crashsite it became clear that the complete wreckage still remained deep in the ground at Eefde.

The recovery of the Me109 took place on march 16, 2002, a sunny spring day. This Me109 had impacted with incredible force. The engine was finally recovered from a depth of 7.5 meters. This a/c was identified as the109 of Oberfeldwebel Erich Ett of 7./JG77

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Januari 14, 1945, Mission briefing. Erich Ett together with 3 others had to finish off limping USAAF bombers returning from the Ruhr. During take off one of the 109's had engine trouble and had to brake off his mission. Erich Ett together with Leutnant Hekel and Leutnant Kaiser took off from Bönninghardt Süd and flew north east to intercept the bombers. It was a clear winters day with snow on the fields below them when they suddenly were bounced by RAF Spitfires and probably Hawker Tempests. Leutnant Hekel was the first to be shot down with black smoke trailing from his a/c and nose-diving to the earth. Ofw Ett turned very sharp to evade the attackers and lost contact with Leutnant Kaiser who was shot down shortly after this manouvre. Ofw Ett was able to fire effectively at a Spitfire but could not see if it went down as he was totaly outnumberd.

 graven bij Eefde 12 graven bij Eefde 9 Graven bij Eefde 10  graven bij Eefde 11 

Surrounded by RAF fighters Erich Ett tried to get to some cloudcover at higher altitude and pushed his new Me109G-14/AS to maximum boost. During this manouvre 20mm shells hit his wing and Erich Ett knew he couldn't escape this one. Seconds later a 20 mm shell ripped through the cockpit. Smoke was filling the cabine. Erich Etts right arm was directly hit by this 20mm shell and was almost shot off completly. Ofw Ett knew he had to leave his a/c since it was also out of controll. He removed his flying helmet and opened the canopy. Before he knew it he was outside his a/c striking the tailplane with his head. This all happened at an altitude of aprox 6500m. Erich Ett landed at a German FLAK position after a long period hanging on his parachute and was brought to a fieldlazaret at the small village of Lochem.(Kriegslazaret 5-685 Abt. Heuvel-Enk)

 graven eefde 18 graven bij Eefde 13  graven bij Eefde 14  graven Eefde 17

During the final archive research activities it became clear that Ofw Erich Ett had survived the war and was still alive and a meeting between Erich Ett and the ARGA took place 7 months after the recovery of his a/c. Memories came back alive during this first visit. Erich Ett told the ARGA about a Dutch nurse who helped and stood beside him after his operation. This act of impartial aid was something unimaginable to Erich Ett and he was deeply thankfull for this. So thankfull that still after 57 years he could remember her name. The ARGA conducted a new research and the Dutch nurse was found within a few days after their visit to Germany. Both Erich Ett and Toos Haaring, the Dutch nurse, agreed in meeting each other in the Netherlands which took place in October 2002. An emotional visit with many memories!

Today, 7 years later many visits took place between all peolple involved. Toos Haaring and her husband Nico still live near Arnhem. Erich Ett wrote his memoires which were previously published in 1998 but re-published it with the complete story of the recovery included in 2006. He also cooperated in the production of the documentary "Memories in Mud". The ARGA is very thankfull to Erich Ett who was so generous to donated many things he had from his warperiod. Erich Ett passed away on August 09, 2009 at the age of 87 years. His wife Rita passed away in March 2009.

More about Erich Ett found here

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