What could possibly be more exciting than finding a piece of history in your back yard? Fourteen-year-old Daniel Kristiansen from Denmark made a discovery with a simple metal detector that most historians would go bananas over. The teen was given a homework assignment from his history teacher and Daniel’s father joked that he could go find the airplane that crashed into his grandfather’s backyard. The father and son could never have imagined what they would unearth.
What the two discovered was an unforgettable and monumental experience. Something that the teen would never forget.
When Daniel asked his father, Klaus, for help with help with an idea for his history assignment his father joked, “When Daniel was recently given homework about World War II,” Klaus said, “I jokingly told him to go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed out in the field.”
Klaus remembered his grandfather say that he saw a WWII plane crash in the field behind their home. But the family didn’t pay attention to the senior citizen, thinking he must be crazy. Giving into a chance for a treasure hunt the father and son decided to just go out into the field and see if the metal detector picked up anything. At first they only came across small metal debris. Taking a chance on finding more, the father and son kept looking. Klaus used a trencher and continued digging.
The father and son had to stop digging and call authorities when they uncovering pieces of clothing and a human skull. What had begun as a bit of a joke had now become a full endeavor. Local officials, bomb experts, and the German Embassy came to the field to finish the recovery of a plane and the human remains.
“At first we were digging up a lot of dirt with metal fragments in it. Then we suddenly came across bones and pieces of clothes,” Klaus said. “It was like opening a book from yesterday.” “We also found documents and papers in the pockets of some clothes,” Klaus said.
The exact plane that was discovered appears to be a WWII German aircraft — the Messerschmidt BF 109. With the plane was the skeletal remains of the pilot with folded paper documents in his pocket.
Not only can the 14-year-old take credit for the life-changing discovery, but he was allowed to watch most of the professional excavation process.
“He’s actually been given the day off school today so that he can watch the police and bomb disposal people working. It’s quite exciting for all of us,” Klaus said.
What remains of the plane and it’s pilot’s possessions are now at the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland. The Museum’s curator, Torben Sarauw, thinks he and his team will be able to identify the German pilot, given the documents found in the clothing of his pockets. “It’s quite a special find,” Sarauw said. Sarauw added that this may be the first German aircraft to be discovered, in this way, in Denmark.
We can assume that Daniel will have the best report for his history assignment in his class. Danil and his father hope to learn more about the aircraft and pilot as more pieces to the investigation become clear.
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