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WWII German Airman Buried

October 14, 1998 GMT

MIDDLESBROUGH, England (AP) _ A German airman whose bomber crashed north of London during an air raid on Britain during World War II was finally buried Wednesday, 56 years after his death.

About 200 people, including representatives of 20 veterans’ groups, paid their respects at a service for Heinrich Richter at Thornaby cemetery near Middlesbrough, 225 miles north of London.

Richter’s Luftwaffe Dornier plunged to the ground and blew up in January 1942 during an attack on an ironworks near Middlesbrough.

The bodies of three of the four men in the plane were recovered immediately and buried at Thornaby. Then last year, a number of human bones eventually identified as Richter’s were found alongside aircraft wreckage by workers laying drains.

Richter, 30, had been mistakenly identified as one of the three men buried in the cemetery, and his name was inscribed on the original headstone. The headstone now will be altered to include the name of Hans Maneke, originally thought to be the missing man. The others were Joachim Lennis and Rudolph Matern.

The Rev. Walther Bindemann, the region’s German clergyman, conducted Wednesday’s service in English and German.

``If Richter was standing here today,″ Bindemann said, ``he would probably apologize for what he and his comrades did to the British people, but they were only a small part of a larger cog.″