The Spitfire of Landfort
On March 19, 1945 between 14.00 and 14.30 a Spitfire comes down at Landfort, north of Megchelen. The Spitfire Mk XVI with serial number SM-208 belonged to 403 squadron RCAF and was that day at 13.30 hours with 11 more aircraft that took off from the base Petit Brogel in Belgium for a “sweep” (sweeping) in the area of Rheine and Osnabrück. The pilot F/O BYRD reports at the base that he has engine problems and flies back to the base. At the height of Dwardefeld, just north of Landfort, he is hit by 2 cm Flak. The Spitfire crashes at Landfort and the 28 year old F/O Harold Chauncey Byrd is killed. He is buried in a field grave by his aircraft and on October 14, 1947 reburied at the RK cemetery in Gendringen.
What really happened to F/O Harold Chauncy Byrd?
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Everything was broken in Megchelen
Gert Mecking (1930) lived in 1945 on a farm on the Hogestraat at Landfort. During an interview his neighbour Leo Duenk (1933) joined the conversation. His parent’s house was on the Beuningstraat, to the west of Megchelen.
Gert Mecking : “I was there when that Spitfire came down in the forest on the 19th of March. We were sawing wood with some other men when suddenly that plane came down through the treetops.
When the plane came to the ground, the wings were already off. The pilot was still alive and was taken out of the plane and put against a tree. The Germans were there immediately and were swearing: Schweinhund! They toke off his uniform. We were all severely asked to go away. I heard them ranting and I am sure that they killed him!!! Firstly, that pilot is buried at Landfort.