Please allow to introduce myself to you ... I'm Peter Heckmanns, I'm 36 years old and I live in Kerkrade, that's a small town in the southern parts of the Netherlands ... you can situate my hometown roughly between two of the most feared battlefields of World War II ... The Bulge and the Hürtgenforest ...
The reason for this message ... many years ago I was moved deeply by my visits to the American War Cemeteries at Margraten and Henri-Chapelle ... About two years ago I remembered that a close friend of mine told me that an Australian AVRO Lancaster went down on December 29. 1943 ... it was shot down by a German nightfighter ... this boosted my interest, especially when a local newspaper announced that no one knew where the airman (6 died, 1 survived) where buried. In only one hour I discovered that these men were buried at the Reichswald Cemetery in Kleve (Germany). I learned from an Australian that another dutchman ... also from Kerkrade had searched for the information ... I got his address and he pointed out that it was possible to adopt graves of American soldiers who were killed during the second World War ... of course I filed a request for adoption, not only for me but also for my two sons, so this tragidy will never be forgotten ... In the past year I adopted a total of 6 graves and 5 requests are still waiting to be heard from. Just to explain ... adopting a grave means that you bring flowers on ocassion and you visit the grave of that soldier ...
When I was researching the men behing the marble cross, I learned that one of them was a resident of your county Dinwiddie County (City: Petersburg) ... this man was Private First Class Francis L Riggins. Riggins was killed in Action on April 8. 1945. He served in the 345th Infantry Regiment from the 87th Infantry Division.
Francis L Riggins was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and unfortunatly the Purple Heart.
I hope you can help me in my quest ... thank you in advance for all the help you can give me !
Kerkrade (The Netherlands)
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