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15 October 2014
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I Remember Douglas Barder!

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Leonard Covell
Location of story: 
Coltishall, Rackheath in Norfolk
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4515464
Contributed on: 
22 July 2005

(This story was submitted to the Peoples War website by a volunteer from Radio Cambridgeshire Action Desk at the Duxford VE Day commemorations on behalf of Leonard Covell and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Covell fully understands the site's terms and conditions).

During the war I was a farm worker and I remember Douglas Bader. He used to come to the Coltishall White Horse where he was known as “tin legs”. They worshipped him and thought the world of him. He came to Coltishall to take over a group of Canadian’s — the Hurricane Squadron. The Canadian’s had come from France just with the things they stood up in. He was sent there to put them together as they were in a mess. They had not proper uniforms so he sent them all into Norwich, and fitted them out in new uniforms I think it was Burtons and then sent the bill to the RAF. They didn’t have any spares so he couldn’t get them airborne so he raised hell and got them. I remember him coming over the top with his hurricane squadron flying in a dead line.

Rackheath was the first American squadron that had liberators. Gerry used to pepper Rackheath and Coltishall and in-between shot anything on the farms that they could. On our farm there were 3 women that got killed but the other women never stopped working even when their friends were killed. I admired their guts as they knew the job had to be done, the jobs didn’t stop.

I remember when the liberators came back from Germany a mate of mine said to me that’s a Junkers 88 coming in. They hit the 2 liberators and blocked the run way. Then they put the rest of the liberators up — it was mayhem! We picked up heaving machine gun that they had thrown out. I called the police telling them we had it. The police said they didn’t want it. And to this day I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still there as we just pilled it up in the barn.

Our farm was hit at by the second V2 that was fired out of Germany We didn’t know what had happened there was a big wallop. They said something’s landed on the Marshes. There was a huge crater with a cow in it. He had panicked and ran and ended up in this crater! It deafened one of our horses it burst his eardrums. I found this out when he didn’t take anymore notice of me! More help turned up and we got the cow out. No information was given out as they kept it quiet so the Germans didn’t know. Several unexploded bombs were scattered and we went up to have a look as I didn’t know any better.

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