Louis Friedrich was the son of Edwin Gustav Friedrich and of Elsie Rebecca Friedrich (nee Illing) of Marton.
Educated at Feilding Agricultural High School.
The crew were buried in the New Parish Cemetery at Zwischenahn and later reinterred at Sagen.
The following Biography of Louis Thomas Friedrich has been supplied by Michael Ward:
"Louis Thomas Friedrich was the only son of Edwin Gustav Friedrich and of Elsie Rebecca Friedrich (née Illing) of Brooklyn Farm, Pukepapa Road, Bulls, Marton. He had two younger sisters: Myrtle Joyce Friedrich (1922–1991) and Eunice May Friedrich (1925–2012).
Louis was named after an uncle, Louis Thomas Friedrich, who died at Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France on 10 October 1918.
Louis attended Marton District High School and Feilding Agricultural High School from 1933 to 1934, where he was remembered as a bright student of a kindly and engaging disposition. On leaving school he worked as a farmhand on his father’s farm at Marton. In 1938, Louis joined the Wanganui Aero Club, qualifying for his “A” licence in July 1939.
Louis was called up for service with the Territorial Force on 2 October 1940 in the first ballot of conscripts (Manawatu Times, 3 October 1940). At the time of his making application for aircrew training with the RNZAF, on 10 March 1941, he had 24 hours and 40 minutes flying time to his credit. He was selected for overseas service on 7 May 1941.
Louis enlisted with the RNZAF at Ohakea Base on 11 July 1942 and was posted shortly thereafter to New Plymouth, where he spent several months with an aerodrome defence unit. On 26 November he proceeded to Rotorua to receive his initial air training. Having satisfactorily completed this course he was, on 6 February 1943, posted to No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School, Ashburton, and then, on 3 April, to No. 1 Flight Training School, Wigram, where he was awarded the flying badge. On 31 July 1943 Louis was promoted from Leading Aircraftman (L.A.C.) to the rank of Pilot Officer.
Louis embarked for the United Kingdom via San Francisco and New York on 16 August 1943. After a short period at No. 12 RNZAF Personnel Reception Centre, Brighton, Louis was posted to No. 6 Advanced Flying Unit, Little Rissington, Gloucestershire. He was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on 31 January 1944.
In April 1944, he proceeded to No. 11 Operational Training Unit, Oakley, a satellite aerodrome for Westcott, Buckinghamshire, carrying out flying training on Wellington bomber aircraft at Oakley and Westcott respectively. In July he converted to Stirling bomber aircraft at No. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF Shepherds Grove, Suffolk, and the following month underwent a short course on Lancaster bomber aircraft at No. 3 Lancaster Finishing School, RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland.
On completion of his training, Louis was posted to 75 Squadron (RNZAF), Mepal, Cambridgeshire, where he completed 17 operational raids over enemy territory. Listed among the targets on these raids were: Stettin, Saarbrücken, Emmerich, Duisburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Homberg (Germany); Cap Gris Nez, Doudeneville, Harqueboc, Le Havre, Calais (France); Eindhoven, Westkappelle dyke (Holland). He also carried out a minelaying operation in the Kattegat — off the east coast of Denmark.
On 15 November 1944 he was posted to 7 Squadron, RAF, based at RAF Oakington, near Cambridge.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, 7 Squadron was used for training bomber crews, disbanding on 4 April 1940 when it merged with 76 Squadron to form No. 16 OTU (Operational Training Unit). On 1 August 1940, 7 Squadron reformed, becoming the first squadron to equip with the new Short Stirling heavy bomber, the first RAF squadron to operate four-engined bombers during the Second World War, flying the first bombing raids with the Stirling against oil storage tanks near Rotterdam on the night of 10/11 February 1941. It flew on the 1,000 bomber raids to Cologne, Essen and Bremen in May and June 1942. It was transferred to the Pathfinder Force in August 1942, with the job of finding and marking targets for the Main Force of Bomber Command bombers. It re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster from 11 May 1943, flying its first mission with the Lancaster on 12 July 1943. It continued in the Pathfinder role until the end of the war in Europe.
On 5 January 1945, sixteen aircraft of 7 Squadron set out to attack Hanover, Germany. A total of 664 aircraft were involved in the attack, including 340 Halifax bombers, 310 Lancasters and 14 Mosquito bombers. Returning crews reported moderate to heavy flak and there were several reports of fighters over the target area and on the way out. Thirty-three RAF aircraft were lost to night fighters and anti-aircraft fire in this attack. Of the 242 crew members lost, 121 were killed, 93 captured, and seven fled and survived; 21 soldiers landed in unoccupied areas.
Louis Friedrich piloted a Lancaster Mk III, serial PB 526 (MG-N) loaded with 6 x 2,000 lb H.C. (high capacity) bombs. It was his twenty-first sortie. PB 526 took off at 4:28pm but was shot down over Germany at 6:50pm. According to a report by Luftgaukommando XI, after an aerial battle with German night fighters over Edewechterdamm, PB 526 exploded mid-air and caught fire on impact. She was carrying a full bomb load. The crew were:
Flight Officer Louis Thomas Friedrich, 25; RNZAF NZ428060; Captain, Pilot, Sergeant Alfred Henry Grant, 25; RAFVR 1653781; Navigator, Flight Sergeant Robert Guthrie Moore, 32; RNZAF NZ42840; Bomb Aimer, Warrant Officer Bryce Desmond Jenkins, 25; RNZAF NZ325476; Wireless Operator, Sergeant Henry Corry Johnston; RAFVR 3225021; Flight Engineer, Sergeant Norman Reeve Howell, 19; RAFVR 3001158; Mid Upper Gunner, Sergeant Colin Frank Bates, 20; RAFVR 1819553; Rear Gunner
Louis and his crew were initially listed as missing (Evening Post, 14 February 1945). It was another six months before the Air Ministry was in a position to confirm his death:
6 July 1945; “Information received on an official German list, states that NZ 428060 Flying Officer L. T. Friedrich’s aircraft was shot down on the 5th January 1945, and he was laid to rest on the 9th January in the New Parish Cemetery, Bad Zwischenahn, Section XV, in grave number 11. The cemetery is approximately 9 miles northwest of Oldenburg, Germany. Now reclassified to missing, believed killed in action.”
After the war, the crew were reinterred at Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. Louis Thomas Friedrich’s grave reference is: I. A. 6.
The poignant inscription on Sergeant Alfred Henry Grant’s memorial, I. A. 4. reads: “… and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.” The words are from the last lines of ‘How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861).
In March 2009 (as reported in Nordwest Zeitung online), one of PB 526’s four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines was recovered from a moor in the crash zone after a local farmer, Reiner Broers from Edweckterdamm, found it while cooling off in the swamp." AWMM