28.10.1944 No. 442 Squadron Spitfire IX PL207 F/O. Costello
Operation: Dive bombing
Date: 28th October 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 442 Squadron (RCAF)
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: Volkel, Netherlands
Location: Haltern, Germany
Pilot: F/O. 'Pug' George Arnold Costello J/39820 RCAF Age 21. Killed (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from his base at Volkel in the Netherlands to dive bomb German forces when it was hit at around 15:00 hrs by anti-aircraft fire, he managed to bale out safely. His wingman, F/O. 'Frosty' Forrest Bee Young J/39819 remained at the scene circling him until he landed and disappeared into some woods.
Left: The Canadian pilot as described (courtesy Marc Hall)
He then had to surrender to some local German civilians. A car then arrived and 36 year old, Johann Wilhelm Lütfring (a leader of the NSDAP of Haltern) ordered him into the car.
He then stopped at the Helenenhoehe woods marched the pilot several yards when he then shot him in the back, killing him.
After the end of the war Johann Lütfring was tried for his war crime and sentenced to death on the 02nd June 1947 by hanging.
On Friday 05th September 1947 at 14:42 hrs the sentence was duly carried out at Hamelin Prison by Albert Pierrepoint assisted by RSM. Richard Anthony O'Neill and Edwin James Roper.
We are indebted to Marc Hall for image of F/O. 'Pug' George Arnold Costello and image of the German, Lütfring and to Traugott Vitz for the Vitz Archive - now on this website.
'Missing - Presumed Killed': 240 pages Published by Fighting High Publishing (1.09.2018) ISBN-13: 978-1-9998128-5-0. Purchase via this link.
'Operation Hurricane': 256 pages Published by Fighting High Publishing (19 Jan. 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0957116337. Purchase via this link.
Marc Hall developed an interest in aviation at an early age, and gained a commercial pilots licence. Marc's research in to RAF Bomber Command is ongoing and his first book 'Bomber Command Operation Hurricane' met with critical acclaim. Sean Feast started a career in journalism in 1985, concurrently training at the London College of Printing and later joining Maxwell Business Communications. He has written or co-written more than a dozen books.
Originally buried at Sythen but reinterred on the 22nd August 1946.
F/O. George Arnold Costello. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 1.F.17. Son of Valentine de Lacy Costello, and Marie Josephine Elena Costello, of Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada, Fiancée of Mary Jepsom of Toronto, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus".
In 1986 Costello Island in Big Sand Lake, Manitoba was named after him. F/O. 'Frosty' Young visited his family at the end of the war and remained in close contact via the reunions at Comox.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Marc Hall. Sean Feast and Traugott Vitz for war crime information. Other sources as quoted below: