2nd Lt. Charles "Butch" Moritz (21) of Effingham

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Published on April 28 2012 10:35 pm

Army Air Forces 2nd Lt Charles R. “Butch” Moritz, died on June 7, 1944, while piloting a P-51C Mustang aircraft that collided with another U.S. aircraft while on a training flight over Lincolnshire, England.

Lt Moritz will have a graveside service at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Effingham, IL, with full military honors followed by interment. Johnson Funeral Home, Effingham, IL, is in charge of arrangements. Online tributes may be left for the family at www.johnsonandsonsfh.com

Lt Moritz was a member of the 496th Fighter Group stationed in England. He was born on July 16, 1922, the son of Charles J. and Ada (McAdam) Moritz of Effingham.  Lt Moritz and the remnants of his P-51C Mustang bomber escort were discovered by a private group of vintage aircraft enthusiasts (the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group) in September 2011. The plane and pilot had lain buried 18 feet in the ground near Toft Newton, Lincolnshire for 68 years. The vintage aircraft group was searching for the remains of the plane that collided with Lt Moritz’s aircraft in midair, and found Lt Moritz by accident. The other pilot had parachuted to safety.  Eyewitnesses reported seeing Lt Moritz’s fighter plane spiraling out of the sky at a high rate of speed before it hit the earth, exploded, and burst into flames.

In October 2011, the Department of Defense POW/ Missing Personnel Office contacted Pamela Landers (niece) of Nisswa, Minnesota, Lt Moritz’s oldest living relative, to verify his identity. Items found at the crash site included Lt Moritz’s dog tags, an ID bracelet, and a wallet containing some papers with his name.  Lt. Moritz graduated from Effingham High School. He attended New Mexico military academy for one year, then attended the University of Illinois where he was a member of the polo team. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in August 1942, and received his commission at Foster Field, Victoria, TX. He left the United States on April 29, 1944.

Lt. Moritz’s nieces, nephews, and their families will gather in Effingham for the interment on May 5, 2012. All of his sisters, and brothers are deceased, Ruth Moritz Best, Ada “Dee” Moritz Sargent, George Moritz, and Don Moritz.

(2ND LT. CHARLES "BUTCH" MORITZ)