• The Bomber Will Always Get Through

    The holiday, it worked out, was to attend the funeral of my Aunt Ethel, killed during a Luftwaffe attack only a few days previously. I found out later, whilst researching Hastings wartime history, that the enemy raiders had consisted of Me 109s and FW 190s. Their targets were the large art-deco building of Marine Court (built to resemble the Queen Mary), and the important road junction at Silverhill. During the raid, heavy damage and casualties were incurred, my aunt unfortunately being one of them.

    FW-190

    During the raid, an army lorry stopped, and the driver rushed out. He pulled up the tarpaulin at the back and armed the heavy machine gun. Firing continuously at the marauding invaders, his actions undoubtedly helped prevent any further loss of life. Soon after, with ambulances and fire engines at the scene, all attention was focused on helping those injured. The identity of the driver who had saved so many lives though, was unfortunately never discovered, and remains unknown to this day.

    In September 1943, I left my temporary residence in Houghton Conquest, and returned home to be with my parents. As the war progressed and the tide slowly turned in favour of the allies, I knew from listening to the radio that it was only a matter of time before something big would happen to change the direction of the war for good. This was reinforced even more when, only a short time later, I saw strange black and white markings situated on the wings of some of our aircraft. At the time I did not know what they were, but of course, we now know them as invasion stripes. Used to identify friendly aircraft, they helped reduce the risk of friendly fire, something which had happened a few months earlier with a group of Dakotas. The following year, D-Day occurred, and the invasion stripes I had seen were put to good use.

    Invasion stripes     Invasion stripes

    As you can see from the brief description above, aviation, especially for a young boy living through some of the darkest years of history, invokes quite a few memories. Now, as a historian, and someone reaching their eighty-seventh year, the memories are just as vivid as they were as a young boy.

    Dad

    Yes, the bomber did get through to sow the wind, but Germany to its cost reaped the whirlwind.


    11 Comments
    1. alanmerry's Avatar
      alanmerry -
      Great story. Always fascinating to read personal memories of the war as against the more general histories.
    1. AlyMac's Avatar
      AlyMac -
      what a super read - thanks for sharing
    1. MrYorkiesWorld's Avatar
      MrYorkiesWorld -
      A fantastic read Peter, many thanks for sharing this amazing story!
    1. tirith63's Avatar
      tirith63 -
      Thanks for sharing your personal history. Very glad you're here to tell the story - it was fascinating!
    1. widowmaker320's Avatar
      widowmaker320 -
      My Dad was in SOE F-Section, and will have flown out with 161 Squadron
    1. rcogg's Avatar
      rcogg -
      Thanks for sharing. A great read!
    1. kalizzi's Avatar
      kalizzi -
      Awesome article you shared Nels. Enjoyed reading it thoroughly. Thank you.
    1. BarryDon's Avatar
      BarryDon -
      Thanks for sharing your story Peter. Vey interesting reading.
    1. Aviation392's Avatar
      Aviation392 -
      Fantastic read. Unfortunately so many of our younger generation, have no idea of the destruction and fear so many ppl witnessed and experienced personally. Thank you for sharing your story, and we all wish you the best of health./ Ten
    1. SWM1968's Avatar
      SWM1968 -
      Peter, what a fantastic article!

      I can only imagine what it must have been like for all those who lived during that time. The generations that had to endure all of this we must always be eternally grateful to, and we should not forget the sacrifices people made, both on the home front and also overseas. Times were tuff indeed. Fantastic stories like this deserve to be kept alive so that younger generations appreciate what went before.

      Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences of this time, really appreciated!
    1. PaulMort's Avatar
      PaulMort -
      A great insight into the human aspect of WWII. The memories of a time of self-sacrifice, loss and eventually the joy of victory will never be erased from the minds of the people who were around at that time. Fascinating recollection and a great story.
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