Riddlesden man made famous by crucifix-find dies aged 89

Riddlesden man made famous by crucifix-find dies aged 89

German airship Hindenburg flies over Keighley

German airship Hindenburg flies over Keighley

First published in News

A RIDDLESDEN man who as a boy famously recovered a crucifix dropped from the German airship Hindenburg has died.

Jack Gerrard and his pal Alf Butler picked-up the small cross, together with carnations and a letter, in the centre of Keighley as the Zeppelin flew over in May 1936.

The package had been 'delivered' by priest Father John P Schultz, a passenger aboard the Hindenburg, who asked the finder to place the crucifix and flowers on the grave of his brother – a prisoner of war who died locally in 1919 – at Morton Cemetery.

The story made national headlines and Boy Scouts Jack and Alf were subsequently filmed by British Movietone News placing the items as requested. Barriers had to be erected at the cemetery to keep souvenir hunters at bay.

Jack – a great-great grandfather who died this month at Riddlesden Care Home, aged 89 – had never forgotten his moment in history.

"That day the airship flew over always stayed with him" said his daughter-in-law Julie Gerrard, who also lives at Riddlesden.

"He and Alf had seen the package being dropped from the airship and found it around the Temple Row area.

"I remember they both ended up on Granada TV at one time talking about it!

"Sadly Alf died a few years ago."

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