Battle of Britain turns the tide
A CHANCE meeting in an American bar has led to the daughter of a second world war German pilot being invited for tea where her father crash-landed after a dog fight.
On Thursday, August 15, 1940, two German Junkers 88 bombers were shot down by RAF Hurricane fighers and crashed in a field at West Tisted, known as The Jumps.
One nosedived into the ground, killing its four man crew, who it is thought were buried the next day under a hedge bordering nearby woods.
The pilot of the other plane, Oberleutnant Stephen Suin de Boutemard, ordered his three-man crew to bail out and crash-landed in the field. As he brought his badly damaged plane down, it knocked the chimney off the cottage of gamekeeper Fred Ings, a member of the Home Guard volunteer defence force.
One of the Germans said that while floating down he waved a handkerchief at two circling Hurricanes, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Sir Archibald Hope and Sergeant Guy of 601 squadron, based at Tangmere, and one of them waved back.
In May 1974 the field was excavated by Peter Dimond and Southern Area Wartime Aircraft Preservation Society members and a buried 500lb bomb found there was exploded by army experts.
It was thought that was the end of the story, but recently the 46-year-old son of one of the dig team and a professional golfer was in a Florida beach bar when he met Lufthansa Airlines air hostess, Sybille Grund, age 53.
Mike Field, aged eight when his father Barry helped uncover the crashed aircraft, stayed in touch with Sybille, and after a while they discovered that her father Heinz was the handkerchief-waving parachutist.
Mr Dimond said: “The extraordinary chance of two strangers from different countries meeting in America and discussing a wartime event to which they were connected is a chance in a million; an incredible coincidence.”
After the crash, Fred, armed with a shotgun, and three Home Guard volunteers, took charge of the airmen and when the army arrived they were enjoying a cup of tea and admiring Fred’s now chimney-less cottage, near Oakleigh Farm. Fred said afterward when he approached Suin de Boutemard, the German calmly put on his officer’s cap, and asked in perfect English if he was near Winchester, a pre-war holiday destination of his.
Mr Dimond said: “Sybille has been invited to see the field and meet some of us who dug up her father’s plane. Of course none of those central to this incredible story will be present, but we will have a cup of tea there in their memory.”
The Germans were shipped to Canada as prisoners of war, and after the conflict returned home.
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Wednesday 11 December 2013
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