By Doug Trench, Defence Editor
A German WW2 soldier has been found alive and well in a Suffolk forest, still believing there is a war on.
The astonishing discovery was made by a group of primary school children on a nature trail.
They stumbled across Hans Up as he snoozed on a hammock tied between two pine trees in Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge.
Herr Up tried to run but fell out of the hammock with his legs caught in the rope. He sat up, gave a Heil Hitler salute and asked the amazed eight year olds: “How’s it going on the Eastern Front?”
Police were called, together with members of the local Territorial Army in order to interrogate the dazed German.
When the first officer on the scene shouted: “Hands Up!”, the baffled Nazi veteran replied: “Yes, that’s me.”
The confusion was soon sorted, and Hans Up told his gripping story.
He had been on a bombing run heading for Ipswich in April 1944 when his Dornier bomber was shot down as it flew over the Suffolk coast near Hollesley.
Herr Up, now a sprightly 89 years old, said he managed to eject and parachute to safety, landing in a cabbage field near Sudbourne. He ran into the nearby Rendlesham Forest and has been hiding there ever since.
For 71 years he has been living rough in the forest, feeding on rabbit, deer and nicking fruit and vegetables from nearby farms, and dreaming of rejoining his comrades in the fight against the Allies.
He was still wearing his Nazi uniform when he was found, although it was a little torn and in need of a wash.
Hans Up surrenders to Melton Primary School children
He then listened in wonder when staff from the German Embassy in London brought him up to speed on world events.
Diplomat Herman Snoring said: “He was amazed that England had not only defeated Germany in the war, but also that England went on to win the World Cup in 1966.
“But what he really found difficult to believe was that Norwich City FC won a trophy in 1985.”
Herr Up was single when he was shot down, and now has no known family back in Frankfurt, his former home.
He is being cared for by embassy staff as they continue to bring him up to speed with the modern world.
“It’s all new to him – the internet, modern vehicles, television, The One Show…he’s in awe of it all right now.
“But he’s in great condition, and says he wants to write a book about his 70 years in hiding.”
Experts are now looking into suggestions that the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO incident in 1980, when airmen from a nearby US airbase claimed they saw alien lights, could actually have been Herr Up cooking a rabbit on a fire.