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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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182 Squadron
28.02.1945 182 Squadron, Typhoon Ib SW415 Flt Lt. Jack H. Taylor

Operation: Armed Recce, Bremen-Osnabrück area, Germany

Date: 28th February 1945 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 182 Squadron, 124 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: SW415

Code: XM:?

Base: ALG B.86 Helmond, Netherlands

Location: North of Bohmte, Germany

Pilot: Flt Lt. Jack Hardy Taylor 123032 RAFVR Age 21. Murdered

REASON FOR LOSS

The squadron was airborne at 08:45 hrs on the 28th February 1945, on an armed reconnaissance in the Oldenburg, Osnabrück area. When in the vicinity of Osnabrück, Flt Lt. Taylor, who was leading Blue section, dived to attack a train followed by his #2 WO. Cuthbertson. After the attack Flt Lt. Taylor called up to say he had been hit and would have to crash land. This action he successfully carried out landing in the vicinity of Ander-Hunte [sic]. On reaching the ground he called up the squadron to inform them that he had made a satisfactory landing in enemy territory.

Note: Ander-Hunte is not the name of a place. Today’s maps depict an ‘An der Hunte’ which is the name of a cul-de-sac and taken from the name of the stream ‘Hunte’ that runs close by. The cul-de-sac runs south off Osnabrücker Straße which runs to the west of Bohmte.

WO. Cuthbertson orbited the area whilst Flt Lt. Taylor was carrying out this operation but whilst doing so was himself hit. He called up to say he would have to make a forced landing. Since then nothing had been heard from either pilot.

The fate of Flt Lt. Taylor was unknown until a British Special Military Court was convened in Osnabrück on the 17th, 18th and 19th December 1945.

Four German nationals were charged with committing a war crime in that they at Bohmte in Germany on the 28th February 1945 were concerned in the killing of Flt Lt. J.H. Taylor and WO. F.W. Cuthbertson of the Royal Air Force, both of whom were PoWs.

The four accused were all members of the Volkssturm (Militia = Home guard):

August Bühning who was a former Volkssturmmann (Private);
Friedrich König who was a former Kompanieführer (Company Commander);
August Breford-Teckner who was variously described as a former Gruppenführer (Cpl) or Volkssturmmann;
Norbert Müller who was a former Zugführer (Sgt) and a member of the Nazi party.

A Friedrich Bühning who was a former Ortsgruppenleiter (Local Group Leader) and brother to August Bühning was the fifth individual involved in this war crime but he was not before the court as he was not in custody.

Note: Friedrich Bühning was accused of murder and acquitted in a trial before a German court in 1959. The court believed his defense that he obeyed the order of the Kreisleiter (District leader) of Weser-Ems because he feared for his life in the case of disobedience. Under German law, this was a valid defense.

The court heard that at about 10:30 hrs on the 28th February 1945, Flt Lt. J.H. Taylor and WO. F.W. Cuthbertson made forced landings in the vicinity of Ander Hunte [sic] and gave themselves up as prisoners. They surrendered their side-arms and were taken into custody.

It may be that this description was a convenient geographical location to indicate the forced landing site. It is probable that the aircraft came down between the stream named ‘Hunte’, where it runs the closest to the “shoemaker Breford’s wood” (see below), and the wood itself.

Subsequently they were handed over into the charge of Friedrich Bühning. He summoned his brother August Bühning, König, Breford-Teckner and Müller and instructed them each to bring a pistol and to report to him. They were informed that the two airmen were to be shot.

Note: Friedrich and August Bühning were at a meeting in Melle on the 26th February 1945 where one Seidel who was the Gaustabsführer (Staff Commander) of the Volkssturm and also the Kreisleiter of Weser-Ems addressed hundreds of leaders of the Volkssturm. He issued an order that from that day forward no more low flying enemy pilots should be brought in alive.

Seidel was believed to be Helmut Seidel the Kreisleiter of Weser-Ems. Seidel committed suicide after the war.

The two airmen were taken to a wood then named “shoemaker Breford’s wood” located off the road to Haldem (Haldermer Straße) about 3 km (1¾ mls) north of Bohmte, and shot from behind by Friedrich Bühning and two of the four accused. The bodies were then dragged to the edge of the wood and covered with branches.

All of the accused elected to give evidence on oath to support their general defence which was that they were acting under superior orders and under compulsion. August Bühning admitted that he fired, but only one shot and König admitted to firing two shots. It was claimed that Friedrich Bühning shot the airmen with one of their own surrendered pistols.

Breford-Teckner claimed that although he owned a pistol he left it at home because he had no ammunition. He further stated that he was ordered along with Müller to go to a prearranged spot. Enroute Müller told him that he could not shoot the airmen because his son was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot. They both claimed that they were not armed and also that they had not entered the wood where the shooting had taken place and only heard the shots.

The court found all four defendants guilty of the charge and sentenced them to death by hanging.

Upon a review and confirmation conducted on the 19th December 1945 the death sentences for Breford-Teckner and Müller were commuted and a 15 year term of imprisonment imposed. Upon the recommendation of the Legal Adviser and Chief Judge their prison terms were reduced to 10 years each. The final disposition of their sentences are not known.

August Bühning and Friedrich König were executed by Albert Pierrepoint, assisted by RSM Richard A. O'Neill, on the 8th March 1946 at 14:40 hrs and 15:10 hrs respectively.

The remains of Flt Lt. Jack Hardy Taylor were recovered and temporarily buried at the Achmer British cemetery Plot II, Row A, Grave 1.

Burial details:

Flt Lt. Jack Hardy Taylor. Relocated and laid to rest at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery 26.E.4. Inscription: ‘A GOOD LIFE HATH BUT A FEW DAYS: BUT A GOOD NAME ENDURETH FOR EVER’. Born on the 6th June of 1923 in Ashton, Lancashire. Son of Tom Lowe and Doris (née Bates) Taylor of Marple, Cheshire, England

Researched by Traugott Vitz and Ralph Snape and Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS 07.08.2023 - Initial upload

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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