Sunday, May 6, 2007

German Bomber Crashes in the Lammermuirs in 1939



In late October 1939 pilots of the Auxiliary Air Force shot down this Heinkel HE III bomber. It crashed on the top of the Lammermuir Hills not far from Mayshiel. According to the Scotsman.
“The Nazi was obviously engaged on a lone reconnaissance, and as soon as he was intercepted he at once responded with sustained bursts of machine-gun fire. At the outset, the bomber endeavoured to exploit the usual enemy flying technique, with which, incidentally, Scots airmen are now becoming familiar. It was unavailing. The Heinkel was harried on all sides by the fighters, and he was relentlessly pursued over the broad fields of the Lothians. He had little chance of escape. Individual aircraft went in to the attack, guns blazing. Their dives might be likened to the "stoops" of a hawk at an unfortunate quarry.
The ground on which the ’plane lay riddled with bullets, is about seven or eight hundred feet above sea level, and commands, a wide view of the Firth of Forth and the Pentland Hills. If the wounded pilot, after he first struck the ground had had any thoughts of rising again he must have been daunted by the sight of the Lammermuirs, which formed a solid barrier in his way. When the news that the bomber had been brought down began to circulate men and women, taken with a desire to see an invading craft at close quarters, made their way on foot or by motor car to the moor, until the scene, with its parked vehicles and the crowd on the knoll above them, had all the appearance of some country coursing meeting. Many of those who gathered about the wrecked machine, which they were prevented from approaching at close quarters by a guard, had seen the concluding stages of the fight. They had followed the chase across country, as if they had been following a pack of hounds.”

1 comment:

Gael said...

Over the decades my Mum used to tell me the story of one day when she was about 14 yrs she was riding her bike from Musselburgh to Dalkeith when a German plane flew low over her head. She jumped of her bike very quickly.
This is the plane. She is 85yrs now and has lived in Australia since 1947. Her Grandaughter(my daughter)lived in Portobello for six months in 2009 and worked at TKMaxx for three. We all love Scotland!