US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by tommy303 » 11 Aug 2009 17:53

Some years ago I had a teacher who had been a soldier in the German Army between 1943 and 45. On one occasion in 1944 he prevented a group of civilians from lynching several allied airmen and a police complaint was forwarded to his company commander. He 'officially' was placed under arrest by the CO, but the commander told him in private that he approved of his actions. He then arranged for him to be transferred to a combat unit in France and the matter was dropped.

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by Helmut0815 » 10 Dec 2011 17:51

Yesterdays issue of our local newspaper reported of an incident that occurred on 28th September 1944.


Summary: Günter Rode, a 17 years old teenager in 1944, became eyewitness when downed radio operator Sheppard Kerman was shot dead by Unteroffizier Gerd Beck without any reason. Kerman's bomber was shot down by german Flak and the crew managed to bail out. Mr. Rode saw Kerman comming down with his parachute and he landed in the Krumme Strasse in the city of Wolfenbüttel/Lower Saxony. The airman has cut off from his parachute and pulled into a house. From the nearby military hospital came Hauptmann Kamschack and Unteroffizier Beck, they entered the house and Kerman was shot on the spot by the Unteroffizier. Later when the dead body was carried away Günter Rode heard the police chief say: "If he's still alive smash his head."

I've never heard about this incident before. Wolfenbüttel was not bombed in WW2, so where came the bomber from (air raid on Magdeburg)? What happened to the murderers?



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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by David Thompson » 10 Dec 2011 17:59

Helmut0815 -- You asked:
What happened to the murderers?
Three men were put on trial for the killings -- Wilhelm Kanschat, Otto Weinreich and Gerd Beck. All three were convicted. Messrs. Kanschat and Beck were sentenced to death, Weinreich to life imprisonment. The sentences of Kanschat and Beck were subsequently commuted to life imprisonment ( ... 5#p1003955).

Case No. 12-1104-1 (US vs. Wilhelm Kanschat) Tried 28 Aug. 47 ... 04-001.pdf

Murder of Sgt Sheppard Kerman
Tracing the Bloodline: Sergeant Sheppard Kerman ... 1012041428
Sergeant Sheppard Kerman, USAAC, 303rd BG 360th BS
Murder of a Prisoner of War
Krumme St. 28/Site of WWII Slaying of POW Sheppard Kerman

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by chicagospokesman » 21 Dec 2011 04:38

The American flyer that you are talking about, Sergeant Sheppard Kerman of the 303rd Bomb Group, 360th Squadron, was my Uncle. Gunther Rode, who was quoted in the article, was a witness to my Uncle's killing. I met with Rode and his Wife during my first visit to Wolfenbuttel to discuss the circumstances of his death and have kept in touch with him and many others in Wolfenbuttel. I had sent the Rode's a Christmas card in German which contained a brief memorial mention to my Uncle in it. Oddly enough, the Christmas Card that became the basis for this story.

Uncle Shep was the Radio Operator on a B-17 on a mission to bomb the Krupps Munitions Factory in Magedburg on 28 September 1944. There was a brief period when the B-17's were without fighter support and that's when the Luftwaffe hit them. Close to a dozen B-17's were lost on that mission, and the majority of them went down after that first fighter attack. Shep's 17 crashed in Ohrum just outside of Wolfenbuttel.

Shep was wounded in the attack as were other crew members including his friend Bombadier Jack Timmins, who was hit pretty bad. The plane was on fire and going down in a spin but Shep delayed bailing out to help throw Jack from the plane. Shep bailed out shortly afterward. The entire crew made it to the ground safely at various locations but were subsequently captured. Shep had the misfortune of having his parachute snag on the roof of a building in the town center and was left hanging helplessly outside of a second story window. The neighborhood where this all went down was not a rabid Nazi area, but was home to many working class families. There were many who felt for Shep during his final moments but were unable to do anything. Many watched Shep's capture and subsequent murder with sadness, anger and disgust. And they did not hesitate to provide extensive details to Allied prosecutors during the two war crimes trials. Even though appropriate sentences were handed down, deals were later cut and justice not fully carried out. Those who elected to let bygones be bygones dd a disservice to the memory of my Uncle and many other American POW's who were killed or faced a brutal captivity.

I have visited this city in the Niedersachsen region (Lower Saxony) of Germany twice and over the years have kept in touch with many of those who have helped me find out more about the fate of my Uncle. They are very aware of the past and have worked hard over the years to make amends for a sad period in their history. By doing so they have helped to create a climate of peace and friendship.

Thank you Helmut for posting that article and thank you David for providing the links to the 303rd's website. The site is maintained 303rd Bomb Group Historian Gary Moncur, the proud son of Pilot Vern Moncur who was a part of the original Thunderbird Crew. Gary does a fantastic job of keeping the site fresh and informative. It is totally worth your time and energy to check it out:

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by mcb » 10 Apr 2012 09:39

New documents are available online:

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by PF » 28 Nov 2013 01:58

Note previous link to picture of Captain Coggeshall doesn't exist anymore:
Here is a new link ... 236&df=all& :thumbsup:

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Re: US Pilot/POW reported killed 1945 Germany

Post by jandnmurphy » 31 Oct 2019 10:17

I just came across the original court documents for this trial. My uncle CPT. James D Murphy JAG at the time it has the original hand writing notes much different than the original shown here

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