- Contributed by
- People in story:
- PILOT: Leonhard BUCKLE. PoW
- Location of story:
- Lewes Sussex
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 16 December 2004
The Gotha at Lewes With Pilot
At last I have got round to answering your letter. I apologise for not writing sooner. I have been many weeks in hospital with stomach trouble. Subsequently I have been on holiday. I was amazed at the communiqué from Berlin and also your letter. Thanks, 50 years have now elapsed and it made me wonder that you are still so well informed.
After my landing I was surrounded by lots of men but you after a lot of thought must have been 10 years old and I cannot remember you. I was picked up by the police and taken to the station. One day later I went to London for interrogation I was then imprisoned in the POW camp at Oldham. In January 1941 the camp was dissolved and we were shipped to Canada. I stayed there until 1946 in the Lethbridge camp in Alberta. Mid 1946 we were brought back to England and as far as I recall were taken to the camp at Billingshurst. After further discussion I returned to Germany. The journey went from Hull to Cuxhaven, to Munster camp and then the infamous ‘Dachau’
On 24/6/47 I returned to my homeland. I then joined the local constabulary After 33 years service I retired. At the age of 60 I am married with three daughters and four grandchildren.
From your letter I see you wish to visit Germany, and I would not wish to miss you making me a visit.
You are heartily welcome even though we only know each other by name, I doubt, however whether we will really understand each other as you speak no German and I no real English — I leave the decision for you.
Neustadt has got 50,000 inhabitants and lies between Ludwigshafen and Kaiserslautern. I have sent you a Town Guide of our town. The black and white photos are of the old town which have been pulled down or restored. Then you can see the new buildings and the pedestrian precinct,
AIRCRAFT CRASH SITE FACT SHEET.
A/c TYPE. Gotha Go 145 DATE 28.8.40
RAF REF: 397104. TIME 17:40 UNIT Stab/JG.27
BASE W.Nr. CODES SM + NQ
PILOT: Leonhard BUCKLE. PoW
FURTHER DETAILS: The aircraft apparently became lost in mist or fog over the channel whilst en route from the Channel Islands to France with a load of German Forces mail. It was ‘found’ by two RAF Hurricanes who fired warning shots and headed the plane towards the English coast where it landed at Lewes racecourse,. Which was the first piece of land suitable for landing after crossing the coast.
The aircraft landed without mishap on the race hills, just to the West of the track’ leading from behind Lewes prison on the A275 towards Offham Hill.
The pilot was taken prisoner by the Police. All these details were supplied by ex Chief Supt Britton who was present and was one of the first Police officers on the scene.
He said that the pilot was very young and very frightened at the prospect of being taken prisoner and somewhat shocked at his untimely arrival in England He also expressed alarm as to what his CO would say about it all.,but was told. by the Police not to worry as he would not be seeing him for some time To which he is reported to have replied,” That’s OK. as long as he does not get shot down and taken prisoner too!” Until the pilot had. been taken prisoner by the Police.
The two. Hurricanes, circled the spot where the aircraft had landed.
The aircraft was powered by an Argus III engine, No 250047.It was flown from Lewes to Farnborough on August 31 st ,after being moved from the spot where’ it had landed to the Gallops on the Race Course.
The pilot was Sqn.Ldr H.J Wilson it was test flown on ‘2.12.40 in RAF markings and was given the British serial BV 207 and was delivered by air to 20. M.U. on 1.1.41 and ‘in ‘September 1941 it was issued to Maintenance Command and allocated the Maintenance serial no. 2682M. According to Ch.Supt Britton RAF roundels were painted on the plane before it was flown away.
Buckle was interrogated at Lewes Police Stn, by P/O Gibbs and P/C Sankey.Mail’ and documents taken by F/O Birch
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