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SALVAGE AT CHEDDAR GORGE

by CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford

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Archive List > Royal Air Force

Contributed by 
CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford
People in story: 
Louis (Reg) Cruse
Location of story: 
Oxford and Cheddar, Somerset
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A5746746
Contributed on: 
14 September 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from Oxford BBC/CSV on behalf of the late Louis (Reg) Cruse and has been added to this site with his son’s permission, who fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

PEOPLE IN STORY: Louis (Reg) Cruse
LOCATION OF STORY: Oxford and Cheddar, Somerset
MAIN AREA OF INTEREST: Airfields, Salvage
TITLE: SALVAGE AT CHEDDAR GORGE

During the war Louis (Reg) Cruse was No 1 at the CRU [Civilian Repair Unit] at Cowley, Oxford. He had been a clockmaker by trade before the war. He was involved in the production on the instruments for Miles Master planes at St Aldates (where the Oxford law courts now stand). The planes, without their wings, would be towed from there to Cowley airfield (also famous as being the last airfield Amy Johnson took off from on her final flight).

Another of Reg’s jobs was to taxi aircrew around the country, wherever they were needed. He also had to pick up damaged aircraft from Brize Norton airfield, if there was a raid on he would have to shelter in a ditch.

In 1940 he was part of a salvage gang who went to Cheddar Gorge in Somerset to salvage a Heinkel He 111. This had been taking part in the bombing raids in Bristol until it was shot down, and had belly landed on top of the gorge. Members of the Home Guard were guarding the wreck until Reg and the team arrived. They had used turf cut from the surrounding grass to hide the German crosses on the wings. Whilst salvaging the plane the team also made sure they took off the air plates as potential souvenirs.

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