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15 October 2014
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My Home Guard incident

by epsomandewelllhc

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
James Court
Location of story: 
Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 November 2005

My Home Guard Incident

The author of this story has agreed that it can be entered on this website.a

I joined the 2nd Gloucestershire Battalion of the Home Guard at the age of 16 in December 1941, in the village of Great Rissington in the Cotswolds where I lived at the time.

In the early hours of a night in October 1943 an R.A.F. Wellington Bomber coming home from its bombing mission attempted to make an emergency landing on its final approach at the local airfield in Little Rissington but actually overshot the runway, crashing into the back garden of the local village inn after the aircraft’s wing tip clipped the window of the Landlord’s daughter’s bedroom…who was my current girlfriend of the time.

The plane became a blazing inferno in the garden with loose ammunition exploding everywhere. An invasion alert was in force at the time and, on seeing a great glare at the top of the village, I was expecting the worst. I fell out of the bed at home, raced up the village street, I should add in my uniform, rifle at the ready with the allocated five rounds (all we had) of ammunition in the magazine.

Having realised that the emergency was somewhat less, I picked my way through the burning wreckage in the garden and concluded the situation was hopeless. Nevertheless there was one survivor, the rear gunner, who scrambled out alive but injured. The rest of the Canadian air crew unfortunately perished.

The following morning I found a spent bullet under my uniform greatcoat collar!

An aircraft propeller from the incident is still on show in the bar of the Lamb Inn to this day.

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