THE mystery of a missing memorial put up to commemorate the death of a German soldier who died in a military accident near Market Lavington has been solved.

Parish council chairman Colin Osborn had been told the cross put up to mark the place where Dirk Knoffel from the parachute unit of the German Luflande Brigade died on the Ridgeway near Lavington in 1993 might have been stolen or vandalised.

So he was delighted to get a letter out of the blue from some former members of the British army’s Parachute Regiment telling him they had taken the memorial away for refurbishment.

On Friday the new cross was put up by the ex soldiers, near the spot where Dirk Knoffel’s anti-tank vehicle had rolled over.

A ceremony to mark the new cross is to be held at 11am on September 7 which will be attended by members of the Parachute Regiment Association from the Oxford and Newbury branches with standards and a bugler.

The Military Attache from the German Embassy in London is due to attend and Tidworth Royal British Legion may also be there with a standard.

Mr Osborn said: “There had been talk in the village about the memorial being stolen or vandalised so I was very glad to get the email from Vic Morrell.”

Mr Morrell said: “Unfortunately Dirk Knoffel was not known to myself or my friends, we were serving a 2.5 year tour of Northern Ireland at the time of the accident.

“But one of my friends Andy Lyall had started working as a range warden and came across the memorial site as part of his rounds, through Facebook he tried to find out more information about the accident and put a call out for assistance in restoring the memorial.

“We are all ex members of the Parachute regiment, as Dirk was a German Paratrooper (Fallschirmjager) we feel he is part of our Airborne Brotherhood.”