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German Plane Crash in New Aberdour

by eunice rushton

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Archive List > Family Life

Contributed by 
eunice rushton
People in story: 
Eileen Soppitt, Harry Soppitt, Marjorie Soppitt, Douglas Soppitt, Dr. John Cameron
Location of story: 
New Aberdour, Aberdeenshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A8764248
Contributed on: 
23 January 2006

My father was a county policeman in Aberdeenshire when World War II broke out. We were living in the Police House in a small village called New Aberdour about a mile from the coast of The Moray Firth, between Fraserburgh and Banff.
One bleak, stormy night in September 1940 my father, mother, my youngest brother and our next door neighbour and I were enjoying a cup of tea before Mrs. Forsyth returned home. Suddenly there was a commotion outside, someone knocked on the window, banged on the door and shouted "Come quickly bobby! There's a plane down and they're speaking foreign!" But before my father could get to the door the informant had 'legged it'. This was, we learned later, because he had come on a motorbike and it had stalled at the entrance to the village and he had run all the way to the Police Station.
Shortly after, he returned on the bike and told my father that he had left the housekeeper at his farm with 'three foreigners' one of whom was injured. Dad duly informed the Distict Office at Fraserburgh that a plance had come down at Windyheads Farm and then set off on the back of the farmers bike. We were left wondering and worrying about what this might mean (I understand that at that time it was believed that an invasion on our coast from Norway was deemed possible). So you can imagine how we all felt, apprehensive and in my case I know (I was 11 years old) terrified - but I didn't want to go to bed.
About 1/2 hour afterwards there was a clanging on the office bell. For a split second we all looked at each other and then my mum said "I'm not going to the office door to answer that (the office was down a long unlit corridor). I'll shout from the house door and if they answer in a foreign accent I'll die!" She opened the door and shouted "who's there?" The answer came "It's Inspector Michie & Sergeant Thompson" (2 senior officers from Fraserburgh) "Is Harry (my father) there? We've come to take him to Windeyheads and we've got a rifle for him" Mum said "Oh, he's been gone for 1/2 hour with his baton!" And at that they left.
Now for all most of the policemen left (the younger ones being called up)had served through the Great War - Dad being in from 1914 as a volunteer until the end - they weren't allowed to have firearms in their station (All the Home Guard - some as young as 17 - and not properly trained - had rifles and ammunition at home).
When dad arrived at the farm the housekeeper had laid a groaning table for the unexpected visitors. There was scones, butter, jam, cheese, bread etc - all home made - and she was busy frying sausage, bacon and eggs for her 'callers'. She hadn't known what else to do left with 3 foreign men.
They were indeed Germans. The plane was a Heinkel 115 and was a mine laying plane which had got lost and struck a knoll in the middle of a field on this isolated farm. My father pointed to the table and said "starving Britain!" at which the pilot spat out of the corner of his mouth.
Soon the Home Guard arrived plus the local Doctor to attend to the injured man. The Home Guard found another airman hiding in a cornfield. When the doctor was seeing to the injured man the pilot said "You had better be good to that man or you will hear of it when The Fuhrer comes". to this Dr. John Cameron said "Oh, he's coming is he?" He was glared at by the pilot (this bit of the story reminds me of an episode of Dad's Army when the platoon had to guard German Sub-mariners "I will put your name on my list").
Eventually an ambulance and the army arrived to take the prisoners away and dad arrived home in the early hours. He had brought energy tablets from the plane that someone gave him. They were about 1 inch square and 1/8 inch thick, very sweet and melted in the mouth on contact.
After the military had been over the plance with a 'fine tooth comb'. Dad was given the planes anchor as a souvenier. This he gave to Fraserburgh Library in 1960's. However, on my enquiring about it in the 1980's to show to my daughters no one appeared to know where it was now.
About 2 years ago, my brother (Douglas)came upon a book written by a German author called 'Luftwaffe at War 1939-42'. One of the stories in it was about this incident written by the fellow who was injured and also tells how he was taken to hospital in Aberdeen and was well looked after.

Eileen Rushton (nee Soppitt)

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