- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mr Putticombe (farmer N Devon), Oliver & Bertha Ryall (my parents)
- Location of story:
- Beafod Noth Devon
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 18 October 2005
A Junkers 88 crashed into a field of mangolds at Upcott Farm, Beaford, North Devon, owned by a gentleman farmer Mr Putticombe on 22nd August 1940. The German pilot was killed instantly.
On hearing the crash the farm hands, one of whom was my father, rushed to the scene with pitch forks in his hand, to see what could be done. On investigation it was clear that the pilot was dead. With the contempt for the German people at the time, it was suggested that the pilot be removed from the wreckage and disposed in a pit to be dug close by. Before the work could be completed, Mr Putticombe arrived on the scene and was horrified at what the men had planned to do, and rebuked them for their thoughts.
“Whether a German or not, that man is some-ones son. He will have a proper Christian burial, the same as any of you would expect!”
Although very young, I remember my father frequently relating this incident, but as was typical of him, he rarely got to the end of his stories. He liked to “play the hero” and leave his listener in suspense. He also liked to boast of his adventures on his motor-bike without any lights. He also was proud of the fact that he was permitted to drive without ever having taken a driving test and did so until shortly before his death at 90 years of age.
Sadly now it is too late to find out more, and perhaps the truth instead of stories, but having found a photograph of the wreckage, my interest has been aroused, and I might well take time to research into where the pilot was buried.
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