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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Unmanned Aircraft

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Roger Rawlings
Location of story: 
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A7943736
Contributed on: 
21 December 2005

I was 16 and a junior laboratory assistant in the Pathology laboratories, Tennis Court Rd, Cambridge. The year was 1943. We had on the site a number of different buildings and a water pump, in case of fire. The pump was manned by staff from the individual laboratories on rotational basis. On this particular night, the pump was situated just off Downing Street in Cambridge. The night itself was very cold, frosty but with a lovely moon. At about midnight we heard an aircraft approaching. We knew it was a German aircraft because of the droning sound. This got louder and louder and we were all shaking in our shoes. The sound was terrifyingly loud. Then we saw the plane go right over the road, just missing the then old Regal Cinema. It was so close we could see the Swastikas on the wings, we could even see into the cockpit, but we couldn’t see anyone flying it; we thought the pilots must be very short. The following morning I heard that this plane had come down in the allotments just off Milton Rd. So, I went on my bicycle, to see it and found out that this particular plane had been bombing Bedford, when it was hit and the pilots and crew had bailed out just outside of Bedford. The aircraft had flown from Bedford to Cambridge unmanned, and crashed with barely a scratch. The only real damage had been to the propellers, and there was no damage to the property around. Of course, once the news got around, everybody went to see it and see if they could get a souvenir. But since the plane was in such perfect condition there was nothing for anyone to collect!

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