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- Lawrence Cohen
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- 25 October 2005
The story I would like to offer for your website is of an incident that took place on Wednesday 25th September 1940 When I was 11 years old.
On that morning, I was on the beach at Boscombe with my father when we heard ant-aircraft gunfire coming from the direction of Bournemouth just 2 or 3 miles west. As we waited to see what the gunfire was aimed at, we suddenly saw a Heinkel 111 heading due south and obviously trying to get back to France.
As the plane appeared over the cliffs, the gunfire ceased and 2 or 3 Spitfires suddenly arrived at the scene and tore into the Heinkel which immediately nosed down and crashed at the tops of the cliffs at Branksome.
We witnessed one or two parachutes leave the bomber one of which I believe landed in the sea, near to the shore. We went to find the site at which the Heinkel had crashed, and discovered that it had come down on a corner of a large house called ‘Underwood’ in Pine Road, Branksome, causing considerable damage to the property. I remember seeing the twised remains strewn over the large garden of the house and the public were allowed to take pieces of metal etc. upon payment of a donation to the ‘Spitfire fund’. One of the memories of the sight of the wreckage was a heavily blood stained parachute which had been laid out in the garden.
This memory of an 11 year old boy was revived recently when reading in “Battle of Britain Remembered — issue 4” — an account of the shooting down of the Heinkel 111 G1+LR piloted by Oberleutnant Hans Brocker on September 25th 1940, but the icing on the cake, if you could call it that, was the discovery that one of the Spitfires R6915 involved in the destruction of the enemy bomber now hangs from the ceiling of the Imperial War museum at Lambeth, London.
To say it was a spine chilling moment when I once again saw the plane that I had seen in action 65 years previously would be a considerable under statement. In a recent visit to Bournemouth, I visited the offices of the Bournemouth Daily Echo, where the librarian was happy to provide me with site of the actual edition of the day.
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