Like many grieving parents, Herbert and Edith May Brownscombe treasured every memory of their son Brian. They had made sacrifices to send him to private school and were proud when he grew up to be a doctor. When he was killed in 1944 during the Battle of Arnhem, they, like the families of the other 1,400 or so victims of this bloody episode of the Second World War, mourned their loss. But this personal tragedy was different. Brian, an army doctor and prisoner of war, was shot in cold blood by a Nazi officer. His killer, Waffen-SS Officer Karl-Gustav Lerche, who spent years on the run under a series of assumed identities, was eventually caught and served five years for the crime.
But for the actions of his former lover, Lerche would never have been brought to justice. He had been doing odd jobs in Munich and had taken up with a woman called Charlotte Bormann. In September 1952 she walked into her local police station to denounce the man she had come to despise. Tired of his lies, Bormann told police that the man she knew as Gunther Breede was both a fraud and killer. In reality he was named Karl-Gustav Lerche who had admitted to killing a British POW in the war. Bormann, too, had form, although not of the criminal kind. The 54-year-old had married and divorced three husbands. Notably one of them was the nephew of Nazi leader Martin Bormann.
Eight long years after his death, the Brownscombe murder was about to be solved. Brownscombe’s nephew, George Pitcher, grew up with a sense of a gaping hole left by his death. “At my grandparents’ house, Brian was memorialised with great affection,” recalls Pitcher, a journalist and priest. “They had his school blazer badge, with his George Medal hanging from it on the wall. But what set us apart from other families of dead soldiers was that Uncle Brian hadn’t died in combat. There was this unresolved issue.”.. (see more at: http://www.newsweek.com/)