Remains of German WWII pilot and crashed plane discovered in Denmark after more than 70 years

German Messerschmitt planes like the one believed to have been flown by Hans Wunderlich

A German fighter pilot killed when his plane crashed in Denmark has been identified after more than 70 years.

The remains of 19-year-old Hans Wunderlich had lain undiscovered since his aircraft, believed to be a Messerschmitt, came down in farmland near Birkelse, a village 155 miles northwest of Copenhagen, in October 1944.

The pilot has no surviving next of kin and so may be buried in a war cemetery in Denmark.

His body and the plane's wreckage was found by Klaus Kristiansen and his 14-year-old son, Daniel.

Mr Kristiansen said: "We went out to the field with a metal detector. I hoped we might find some old plates or something for Daniel to show in school."

Recovering bits of plane debris, they dug further down using a neighbour's excavator and came across the plane's engine, guns and parts of fuselage at a depth of around 16 feet.

As well as the pilot's remains, they also came across a small diary in which the pilot had written his name. His initials were also found on a watch recovered at the site.

He is believed to have come from the training base for German pilots in the nearby city of Aalborg.

The name Hans Wunderlich was found in both service records and papers from the canteen at the base.

Born in Neusorg, Bavaria, on 22 July 1925, he was unmarried and had no children.

The German authorities have said his parents died several years ago, and in 2006, his only sister also passed away, leaving no children.

The Historical Museum of Northern Jutland (Nordjyllands Historiske Museum) is currently looking at opening a temporary exhibition of the wreckage and other finds from the crash.

Torben Sarauw, curator and head of archaeology at the museum, said: "It's quite a special find."