'You have brought us closer to some closure': nephew of Manitoba pilot killed in Second World War
Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018 6:26PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:20PM CST
Tons of bombs were dropped during the Second World War, and one of the aerial workhorses carrying them during the conflict was the Halifax Bomber.
"These were all-metal aircraft," said Davide Montebruno, from the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada. "But don't let that fool you into thinking they could take a whole bunch of bullets and keep on flying."
Indeed, casualties were high, according to historian Jody Perrun from the University of Winnipeg, who said there was a "51 per cent fatality rate."
But despite the risks, Halifax Bomber crews went out on missions every night. And that included a Manitoba flight sub Lieutenant, Nels Peter Andersen.
His Halifax took off on the night of Feb. 21, 1945 with a mission to drop a payload on the city of Worms in Germany. But the crew never made it.
"Shortly before they reached the target, it was shot down in the area of Leistadt," said Erik Wieman. "It crashed on a hillside. It was a very big explosion"
All seven people onboard, including Andersen, were killed.
Erik Wieman wasn't around to witness the crash himself, but he recently heard the echoes of it: Wieman uses a metal detector in his spare time, and he came across the wreckage of the Halifax.
He wants to build a permanent memorial, and has decided to make it his mission to track down the surviving family members of the crew.
"I think it's very important to tell them the story, so they can find closure," said Wieman.
Weiman has already managed to track down five of the seven people onboard.
Now, Nels Peter Andersen from Woodside Manitoba is one of the final names on his list.
"When we do our work, we try and do it as best we can," said Wieman. "And when one family is missing, it's not complete."
Wednesday, CTV News told the story of the Bomber, and Wieman's quest to find Andersen's family. And not long after it aired, the mystery was solved. Nels Andersen's nephew Calvin Andersen contacted CTV, and Erik Wieman.
Calvin says Nels' brother Hans currently lives in British Columbia. Calvin Andersen tells CTV, "You have brought us closer to some closure for an Uncle that was always referred to as lost at war." Andersen says he hopes to visit the crash site in Germany.