Courtesy of a link at Indy Transponder, we learn of a World War II act of mercy - one that's reunited two former enemies.
It was supposed to be 23 year old pilot Jack Dack's 33rd and final mission before heading back to Melbourne in Australia. As he flew over Holland on October 23rd 1944 his Lancaster bomber was shot down by enemy fire.
Avro Lancaster bomber (image courtesy of Wikipedia)
A German anti-aircraft marine spotted Jack through his binoculars and did a remarkable thing. Against the orders of his officers he set out in an inflatable dinghy to try and rescue him. It was brave to do as, besides ignoring his officers wishes, there was a gale blowing, the river had a fast current and he had to travel through minefields.
. . .
The RAAF pilot always wondered who had saved him from certain death.
Winding forward over 50 years, Jack had a friend in Holland and he had been reading a local newsletter. In this there was a story about a German who, during the World War II, had managed to rescue what he thought was a British airman from the river at Flushing.
Jack's Dutch friend sent him the article, which was about a soldier called Hans Bannick of Kiel.
As good fortune often goes in coincidence stories Jack's son, Stuart, happened to be working in Germany at the time of the article being received. He managed to find an address and phone number for a Hans Bannick in Kiel.
A very nervous Jack made a phone call to Germany and sure enough it was Hans who had rescued him all of those years ago. Jack has written: "He answered the phone himself and he spoke English and he was my rescuer. We had a long and happy talk. Since then we have exchanged before and after photos and stories."
Since the phone call the two old soldiers have met face to face and Jack said of this "The first thing I said to him, in German, was thank you, thank you, thank you for 57 years of my life."
There's more at the link. The source, the blog 'Coincidence and Synchronicity', has a number of other interesting tales about things like this, as its title would suggest. It makes interesting reading.