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Returning an EKI in 1956
Old 04-12-2014, 07:49 PM   #1
Sepp45
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Default Returning an EKI in 1956

An interesting story for sure!

Oberfeldwebel Wilhelm Erdniss was brought down over English soil in 1940, and later moved to Kent (Wilhelm was typically wearing his decorations when captured). He quickly decided to conceal them from his captors, since the medals may have indicated involvement in the shooting down of Allied aircraft. So on alighting from 1653, he quickly tried to bury them. The Home Guards spotted his actions, and gave him the option of retaining them or handing them over till war's end. Erdniss asked that the decorations be given to the pilot who shot him down. When Flight Lieutenant E.N. Ryder arrived on the scene later, the medals were duly handed to him. He retained them until September 1956 when the following sequence of events occurred.

In 1955, an American Major stationed in Southern Germany attached to the Royal Air Force Staff College at Branchnell in England, met Ryder, now a Group Captain employed at the College. Ryder told him of the medals and asked Major Johnston if it was possible to trace Herr Erdniss, in order to return them.

On his return to Germany, Johnston duly contacted a Herr Klein of Cologne who placed an advertisement in the local newspaper. Her erdniss was traced, now married and employed as an electrical engineer and living in the town of Gindorf near Grevenbroich. This contact eventually led to a handing-over ceremony at the Wahn RAF Base in Germany where the former adversaries met for the first time.

(Photo: Subtle pleasure and chivalry all round on 6 September 1956. Group Captain E.N. Ryder returns medals to former Luftwaffe Oberfeldwebel, Wilhelm Erdniss at the RAF Base in Wahn, Germany. Major Johnston, Ryder's assistant in finding Erdniss, looks on delightedly.)

(Source: http://militarianz.freeforums.org/wh...1653-t559.html)
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:50 PM   #2
Sepp45
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This footage was taken from a newsreel by the Associated Press, 1956.
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:58 AM   #3
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Great & interesting story Sepp ! I hope the EK1 is not now in some collectors hands ! Tom
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:08 AM   #4
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Class,Thanks for sharing that story

Ross
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:31 PM   #5
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That is a cool story, thanks for posting.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:14 AM   #6
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Thank you for posting.
Great story and footage
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:26 AM   #7
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Great story. These two veterans have class.
Wish all stories were as happy reading as this.
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chivalrous
Old 04-16-2014, 02:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for posting..even in the aftermath of a brutal and bloody war, such acts of chivalry are amazing..!
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:27 PM   #9
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Respect to that guy. He really had class ! Very interesting story.skalp
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:25 PM   #10
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What a heart warming story! Many thanks for posting this Sepp!
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Returning an ek1
Old 04-26-2014, 12:50 PM   #11
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Let's hope that his family still has it, or let's hope that he is still alive and still has it !
Very nice story !
mikeburch
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:03 PM   #12
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You Gents will find this article interesting. Reviving this thread after 5 years. I recently acquired a photograph postcard of POW's in Canada that was mailed to 'Great Germany' in 1943. It was from an Oberfeldwebel Wilhelm Erdniss and the fellow in the photo looks similiar the man shown here in the original post. I will post the front and reverse after I've cleaned it up. While researching this photo I stumbled on this article.

"Medals of Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot and one of 'The Few' sold for £22,000.

THE medals of a Spitfire Ace who was given a German Iron Cross by an enemy pilot he had shot down only to graciously return it after the war have sold for £22,000."

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/71...n-Norman-Ryder
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:31 PM   #13
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And here is another article you'll find interesting also with photos.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...d-foe-war.html
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:43 PM   #14
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That's a great story, respect to all involved. I have Ryder's autograph in my BoB collection.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:02 AM   #15
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How interesting. This reminds a bit of how Heinrich Severloh met David Silva several times after the war, who had been wounded by three bullets in the chest on Omaha Beach. David was most likely shot those three times by Severloh.
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