Why don't RAF pilots carry pistols?

Young pilot shot from behind

The end of the Second World War in Bösel had already been indicated in March 1945: At the intersection near the parish church, retreating soldiers, probably from the Panzer Grenadier Division "Greater Germany", set up anti-tank traps, and the Böselers fled into the moor.

NSDAP Reichsleiter Martin Bormann had obliged the Germans to fight to the last breath. The slogan of his arrangement was: "Win or fall". The resistance of the German ground troops was already flagging at this time. Only the German Air Force remained active. And those of the English.

Harry Alfred Horsey, a 22-year-old English pilot-officer of the "Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve of the 80th Squadron RAF" ascended with his "Hawker Tempest" on April 2nd, twelve days before the end of the war. That was a fighter squadron specially to fight the V-1 flying bomb. Since the V1 was stationed in Varrelbusch, it is likely that the pilot was on the way there. He was shot at and had to make an emergency landing in Bösel-Westerloh (near Bünnemeyer). Horsey was unharmed and was arrested.

In Bösel, two soldiers from the Varrelbusch airfield guarded him at night, who were supposed to take him there the next day: Sergeant Rolf Brinkmann and Sergeant Werner Asmussen. When Asmussen stopped at the Aumüller restaurant in Aumühlen for a drink, Brinkmann was already moving on with the pilot.

After a few meters he shot the young officer from behind with his submachine gun. The pilot, to whom international martial law assures his integrity as a prisoner of war, had no chance. The German sergeant threw him into a barn, where the 22-year-old's body lay for several days.

Later discovered, Harry Alfred Horsey was buried in the cemetery in Bösel. Neighborhood boys decorated the grave with wreaths from other graves. The Canadian occupiers later reburied the body in the Sage military cemetery.

After the war, the perpetrator was pardoned for this murder by an English military court in Osnabrück, initially to death and later to life imprisonment, which is said to have been reduced to 15 years. The second soldier, Oberfeldwebel Werner Asmussen, was acquitted by a military court in Hamburg. The court files are in the National Archives in London.

70 years after the war crime, a stele was erected for the murdered English pilot Harry Alfred Horsey on the site of the war memorial in Bösel. It is supposed to wrest the interpretation of the past from those who persuade themselves to have seen nothing and known nothing. And by commemorating and bowing to Harry Alfred Horsey, she is giving his dignity back - and finally, after decades, a face, according to the 2015 statement.