After his father made the joke, the Kristiansen men decided to go on an historical escapade. With metal detectors in hand, both went to the field. Klaus thought they’d probably only find plates or similar objects with the detector, but both were absolutely oblivious of what was to come.
They moved the metal detector over a mound of boggy ground where the detector started beeping. They dug up some of the earth only to realize that they would have to dig deeper, and so they borrowed an excavator from the neighbors. So what exactly was buried underground?
The Kristiansens carefully drilled four to six feet down where they happened upon about 2000-5000 pieces of metal debris of what appeared to be broken pieces of a plane. They then dug a little deeper and found an engine of a Messerschmitt BF 109 plane and Luftwaffe munitions, including bullets from the machine guns.
But what they found seven feet down is what truly left the father and son dumbfounded. After digging a bit deeper, they found shocking objects that were hidden just below the surface for 73 years.
The Kristiansens discovered remains of bones and clothes, which had to have belonged to the pilot that was trapped in the cockpit during the crash. The clothing items buried underground were a jacket and trousers, parts of a Nazi pilot uniform.
It seemed that everything Klaus’s grandfather had told him was true. History has a way of revealing itself somehow; even if it’s buried seven feet underground for decades without anyone knowing much about it. But that wasn’t all…
Once they uncovered the bones, jacket, and trousers of the pilot, they started digging in the pockets of the clothes in which they found a wallet with Nazi emblems and insignia, some German money, and cigarette rolling paper.
Klaus Kristiansen in an interview with BBC recalls: “And then we found some personal things – books, a wallet with money…either it was a little Bible or it was Mein Kampf – a book in his pocket. We didn’t touch it, we just put it in some bags.” That’s when they realized they should call authorities and not tamper with anything further. But who was this pilot? And why did he crash his plane? Read on to find out.
The plane they found buried in their fieldwas a German WWII aircraft which formed the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force, deployed throughout Europe from the Eastern Front to the Battle of Britain and even North Africa.
This aircraft, A Messerschmitt Bf 109, was one of the most advanced fighters of the era, boasting features such as all-metal monocoque (structural skin) construction, retractable landing gear, and a closed canopy. The plane was powered by a liquid-cooled inverted-V12 aero engine. Allies, and even the Germans themselves, called it the Me 109. Imagine finding something like that buried in your back yard. But what else could be there?
The Kristiansens decided that they couldn’t take matters into their own hands once they found the remains of the pilot and identified the Nazi insignia. Who could the pilot be and how exactly did he get there? Did anyone know of this unidentified body after 73 years? These questions could only be addressed by authorities.
Klaus Kristiansen contacted the Danish authorities and WWII historians. The remains of the wreckage were taken to the Nordjyllands Historiske Museum, otherwise known as The Historical Museum of Northern Jutland. What the authorities would discover and reveal would shock the world.