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- Location of story:
- Reading, Berkshire
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- Contributed on:
- 21 April 2004
I was fifteen and one late spring morning in 1943 I was outside, at the side of our house towards the rear, chopping wood for kindling.
Suddenly I heard the roar of a low flying aircraft, looking over my shoulder I was astonished to see a Ju 88 flying north towards me from the centre of the town. It could have been no more than a couple of hundred feet high and as I looked, momentarily frozen into immobility, I saw bombs falling out of it's belly.
That was enough, inside the house were my mother and young brother, aged eight. I took off and flew through the open back door to see them both standing transfixed in the doorway to the dining room. I threw them both to the ground shouting out, "German bomber! I saw the bombs!"
We lay on the floor expecting any moment to be blown to bits. But of course I had forgotten that the speed of an aeroplane imparts quite a lot of forward movement to bombs and they hurtled on to explode on and around the tracks of the Great Western Railway that were a couple of hundred yards away. Much relief!
I also realised that as the aircraft had passed overhead, there was the sound of another. This one was firing it's guns and we heard later that it was a Spitfire which was chasing the Ju 88. In fact it shot down the German about fifteen miles away.
There were full gasholders, also only a couple of hundred yards away but to the north-west, and it's possible that the German pilot had spotted these before he realised that he was being attacked. If he had managed to hit those I wouldn't be here to tell the tale!
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