Reinhold Eckardt was born March 26th, 1918 in Bamberg.
He started his flying career with 2./Zerstörergeschwader 76 (Destroyerwing). July 21st, 1940 he shot down his first enemy aircraft, a Lockheed Hudson over the Norwegian coast. Later on he made the transfer to nightfighter pilot with 6./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 (Nightfighterwing). In June 1940 he became adjutant to II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1. December 1st, 1944, he was appointed Staffelkapitän (Squadron Leader), Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 which was converted to 7./Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 on March 15th, 1942.
In the night of July 29th-30th while on a mission, his aircraft was hit over Melsbroek, Belgium. His wireless operator, Feldwebel Frank, managed to bail out unscathed. After jumping clear, Eckardt’s parachute got caught on the aircraft, leaving him hanging. He died as the aircraft crashed near the village of Kampenhout.
Reinhold Eckardt was initially buried at the Brussels Municipal Cemetery but shortly after the war, his remains were transferred to the German War Cemetery in Lommel. The wreck of his plane was discovered in 1997 and recovered. Today it is on display in a museum in Erembodegem, Belgium.
Reinhold Eckardt achieved 22 aerial victories (including 19 as a night-fighter pilot) and destroyed another 17 aircraft on the ground.
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