Stevenage war veteran who bombed Hitler’s house dies

War veteran Fred Arnold pictured with a Lancaster Bomber at the Imperial War Museum

War veteran Fred Arnold pictured with a Lancaster Bomber at the Imperial War Museum - Credit: Archant

A war hero who attacked one of Hitler’s fortresses during WWII has died.

Veteran Fred Arnold, of Stevenage, died at the age of 92 last Wednesday.

At the age of 24, Mr Arnold served as a flight engineer during an attack on the Kehlsteinhaus (or “Eagle’s Nest”) mountaintop fortress in southern Germany - a chalet-style structure built to celebrate Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday.

Prior to his death, Mr Arnold wrote about the 1945 aerial assault in a personal memoir, saying: “The war was nearly over by now and this was Hitler’s headquarters. We had Spitfires escorting us all the way there and all the way back. We had a hard job getting a line on the target, as it was very mountainous all around that area. After a couple of runs through the target area we eventually hit something and apparently it was the SS barracks. That was our last operation.”

Mr Arnold also underwent a near-death experience in France when the Lancaster Bomber he was flying suffered a damaged wing and entered into a tailspin. It fell 8,000 ft before both he managed to pull the plane out of its descent.

After the war, Mr Arnold served as a site agent during the construction of Stevenage New Town - personally overseeing the construction of approximately 7,000 homes - including his own in Pin Green.

Friend Brian Emsley said: “He was a really remarkable man and was dearly loved by all of his family and friends. He will be missed.”

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Mr Arnold is survived by his daughter, Janet, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Mr Arnold’s funeral will be held at St Nicholas Church in Stevenage on June 4.