06.06.1998 Address at graveside by Ursula Strauss (nee Blochberger)

The Funeral of Herbert Blochberger

June 1998

See here for the loss article: Blochberger Luftwaffe 1944

Translation of Herbert Blochbergers last letter home

Ursula, Herbert and Horst pictured during last home leave 1944

Address at the graveside. Written by Ursula Strauss (Blochberger) 6th June 1998. "It seems hardly possible to grasp with our understanding, that we are standing today, here in France, in a German war cemetery by the grave of our dear brother Herbert Blochberger. One and a half years ago nobody would have even remotely guessed at this possibility. During this ensuing period so much has happened which has touched us deeply. Painful but also happy memories emerged, happy that you dear Herbert existed, and that, despite the great difference in age we were allowed to share in part of your journey through life. We are remembering good events and time spent with you. Very sad though is the memory of all your pointless battles in France - the despair and sorrow when Mutti received the news that you were missing. The great sorrow and uncertainty as to what should have befallen you, dear Herbert. We are standing today, your brother Horst - his dear wife Moni, I your sister Ursula, and my dear husband Werner to say goodbye to you. This only became possible due to our English and French friends Melvin with his group."

L to R; Local man, Horst and Moni Blochberger, Frau Beckers, Priest Taufer, Ursula Strauss (Blochberger)
Melvin Brownless (Aircrew Remembrance Society), David King (Aircrew Remembrance Society), Udo van den Brock.

"So many memories tumble through our heads, in the month of June 54 years ago - when Mutti received what must have been your last letter, we could feel between the lines the hopeless, serious situation in which you found yourselves. This madness of war demanded from you to the last, and from us the best. Mutti was full of worry and anxiety - in her thoughts always with you. She once said to me, that she was begging with all her heart that the Lord may take you away from all the horrors. She had not meant it to happen this way. At the end of June 1944 we received from Hauptmann Feilmayer the message that you were missing, that you, dear Herbert, did not return on the 24.06.1944 from an enemy mission - 3 years after fathers death. For Mutti, the world collapsed. You were in every way her great support, we All were missing you so much. After all, you were not only our big brother to us but also a father! The post war days were a bad time for us. How should Mutti pay the rent on our large apartment. We were always hungry, with very little to eat. Therefore we moved to Radefeld, to grandmas, where you were born and where you always felt at home. Many a childhood memory of you is still alive in my heart. We were always looking forward to your parcels from the Front - your soiled laundry, and from your flyer's "special ration" always a tin of chocolate. For us always a reason to celebrate. When Mutti's parcels did not reach you because you had been moved, the dried out crumbly cake I still remember with relish, it always tasted wonderfully good. I also remember with pleasure, how you, when on leave, used to play the piano, even during the night, for your own enjoyment and relaxation. Remember before we had to go to bed, you carried us on your shoulders with speed in "blindflight" flew along our long corridor with crash landings on our beds. Horst and I always made sure that neither was able to enjoy one go more than the other. Mutti often talked about the long cycle tours that you went on - from Berlin to Radefeld. In those days, unusually long distances for such tours. When we talk to people in Radefeld on how you were found, many of them still remember you. Some even are able to recall how you, when flying across Radefeld flew very low 3 times and made it obvious that you were paying us a visit. Your flying skills certainly impressed the Radefelders, this is what many recall. Dear Herbert, our Mutti has tried all her life to find out about your fate. At first she hoped that you were taken prisoner, German engineers were always sought after. Searches by the German Red Cross were without result. She very much regretted, that by father's strict upbringing and your own dedication to fulfil what was expected of you, you missed out on the more enjoyable pursuits in your young life."

Herbert playing the piano for his family, mother Hedwig with baby Ursula, father with young Horst.

"Music played a great part in enhancing your life - you loved it so. During difficult missions, your trust in God gave you the strength which you needed, we felt this in your letters. Dear Herbert, what you could not experience any more, we have been given in our lives. Horst and I have wonderful families, we have healthy children, who are happily married and we are both proud grandparents. Our children know of you, they know you, your pictures hang on our walls in our houses. They are interested in your fate, and supported us during the last months in our correspondance with the authorities and our friends in England and France. They gave us moral support and their thoughts are with us all today. Our dear Mutti had hoped right to the end of her life by a miracle to hear news of your fate. Our fathers death hit her hard, but she needed years to be able to live with the uncertainty of you. Werner nursed her during her last years of her life. She died peacefully in April 1995 in her 97th year. Dear Herbert, that your fate was cleared up, that we are standing here by your last resting place to say goodbye to you is only possible by the young people of the Aircrew Remembrance Society and Maurice Choron Association, who endeavor responsibly to determine the unknown fate of war casualties. With all our hearts we thank these young people; Melvin Brownless, Steven Hall, David King, Laurent d'Hondt, Mike Croft.
During the excavations on the 23rd November 1996 near Ecretteville-les-Baons they found your Me 109 and were able to recover your remains with dignity and respect. It was meant to be, even after the many years you wanted to be found. Things happened during the recovery, which one can't explain. There are things between Heaven and Earth which our understanding cannot explain." (See last photo on this page)

Horst Blochberger, Priest Taufer, Melvin Brownless

"Through great personal and self-financed dedication at the recovery, and consequent tireless meticulous work could ther group clear up your fate. In February 1997, they found our address and we were overwhelmed and deeply touched by your recovery. We followed the tiring work of our friends with great interest. These wonderful young people deserve our greatest respect. We are feeling so very grateful for what they have done for us, a deep friendship has formed between us. In June 1997 Melvin, Udo and Steven were in Radefeld. It was such a joy for us, anything which concerned you, dear Herbert, was for us of great interest. They looked at your birth house at grandmas and all your favourite spots in the beautiful garden. They also visited Mutti's grave, we all wished so very much to be able to take you home and lay you to rest in Mutti's grave. Despite all our efforts it was not possible, it simply could not be done. Our hearts grieve, that you dear Herbert had been resting with your plane in foreign soil for 52 years. We are so grateful - with all our hearts - that you now have a worthy place amongst 1,000's of German soldiers in Champigny/St.Andre. Here, quite near lies your Staffel-Commander Hauptmann Heinz Feilmayer, our English and French friends are present to say "Good Bye" to you. We know that you are now together with Mutti. We your siblings and marriage partners as well as your English and French friends bow to you. Rest in peace with your comrades. A token from grandmas garden, where you loved to be. Some homeland earth in a foreign country. This will keep you as you rest here. Too thank you to say our families with overflowing hearts, "that we were given the chance to be here". "Thank you to Melvin Brownless and his friends. A thank you to the Cemetery Warden Herr. Beckers, and thank you to German priest Herr Taufer."

Herbert Blochberger. Grave 285. Row 5. Block 13.

Photo taken 9.00 a.m. an 23.11.1996 during a hand dig of the crash site. When photo was taken it was light and not dark as the photo depicts. Photograph has been examined by photographic experts and they confirm that it has not been altered any way. Make up your own mind! We have our own opinion and we were the people carrying out the excavation.