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The last military conflict on British soil occurred on the 27th of September 1940, when members of the London Irish Rifles exchanged fire with the crew of a downed Ju-88 bomber - the "Battle of Graveney Marsh":
On the night of April 16th 1943...
...12 FW109 A4's painted with lampblack were insinuated into the bomber stream returning from Germany. This squadron had previously made two very successful intruder attacks on London, but on THIS occasion although they all dropped their bombs, no casualties were caused, and only minor damage to.... a sewage works and a children's playground!
HOWEVER - they were VERY quickly painted on radar and nightfighters tasked to them, and in the ensuing melee over the captial, navigation suffered and a number who crossed the coast OF THE THAMES ESTUARY from North to South...thought they were actually crossing the CHANNEL!!! and found themselves flying over Kent with nearly empty tanks....
On that night the Watch Officer at West Malling, a Ft. Lt. Barry, heard a crash nearby as a first of these stragglers fell out of the sky into a nearby orchard - but this wasn't found until the next morning. While trying however to find out what the noise was, a single engined aircraft was heard approaching the field, and he ordered the runway lights on, as apart from the night fighters, West Malling was ready to receive damaged or low-on-fuel bombers returning from the continent. Instead, a black single-engined fighter rolled up RIGHT to the control block, under the apronm floods, and the pilot started shouting for "his" groundcrew....in German, which they couldn't hear over the noise of his engine. They shouted back, but HE couldn't hear THEM either!....
At this point a field patrol Beaverette armoured car approached, and seeing the German crosses faintly outlined under the paint, the 'car's gunner, A/C Sharlock, jumped out and pushed the rudder of the sircraft right over to stop the pilot making a run for it! The pilot got out of the cockpit....and finally realised where he was!
"...Whilst those at the scene were digesting what had just happened, events began to take an even more dramatic, and just as unbelieveable, turn. As he was on the telephone making a further report to Group, Lt. Barry heard the sound of ANOTHER aircraft making a final approach. No sooner had this aircraft touched down, welcomed by the blazing flare path than he saw Williams and Sharlock once more gunning their Beaverette, racing into action.
As the armoured car dashed around the airfield perimeter to head off the new arrival Sharlock, still perched in the Beaverette's turret, realised when just 20 yards distant that indeed the unbelieveable was happening. In front of them was yet another FW190. This time there was no suprise, as the aircraft had already been given to Control as being a hostile.
Suddenly, and no dobt realising his error, and eager not to suffer the same fate as Bechtold, this pilot turned his aircraft and started to set off across the airfield pushing the throttles wide open. Williams took up the pursuit and at the same time Sharlock opened fire with the twin-mounted Vickers "K" type machineguns. Still standing in the distant Watch Office and watching with increasing awe, Lt. Barry could clearly hear the staccato bark of these light machineguns in action.
Sharlock's aim was dead on target. His long burst, fired from a range of 15 to 20 yards, poured into the German aircraft. He later recalled that he could see a small fire had broken out in the rear of the cockpit, but that despite this, the pilot refused to give up. As he seemed to be intent on escaping, Sharlock opened fire a second time. The Focke-Wulf immediately burst into flames and rolled to a halt.
As his plane was enveloped in flames the pilot was seen to more or less fall from the cockpit. With his clothes alight he staggered towards the Beaverette. Sharlock had climbed out of the armoured car and approached the pilot. Despite the fact that his uniform was on fire, a short struggle developed between the two, the German pulling free and turning to make a dash for it!
His moment of defiance was short-lived for the Station Commander - Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Peter Townsend - caught him. Once pulled to the ground the German gave up the struggle and, with the help of Sharlock, Townsend finally extinguished his burning clothes."
So that's the connection - in a VERY Holywood-style encounter, Townsend had to lay out the burning pilot!!! The aircraft was left to burn out, as it was well down to the frame by then.....
Graham Clayton wrote:The last military conflict on British soil occurred on the 27th of September 1940, when members of the London Irish Rifles exchanged fire with the crew of a downed Ju-88 bomber - the "Battle of Graveney Marsh"
jednastka wrote:Graham Clayton wrote:The last military conflict on British soil occurred on the 27th of September 1940, when members of the London Irish Rifles exchanged fire with the crew of a downed Ju-88 bomber - the "Battle of Graveney Marsh"
Just a clarification; are not the Channel Islands considered "British soil"?
To my recollection, they were not liberated until well after D-Day.
Kilgore Trout wrote:Haven't time to scan all 13 pages of discussion on this topic - have only scanned 5. However: can state with absolute certainty that the story about Chamberlain & Hitler meeting at the BERGHOF in 1938 is unquestionably wrong. The estate was a gift from the Nazi Party to Hitler for his 50th birthday (20 April 1939). In Sep. 1938, it was still under construction and was unoccupied. At least 12 men died making the road up to the estate. This makes the rest of the story about the WWI meeting, to be charitable, highly dubious.
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