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two graves

by adrose

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fort borstal rochester
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08 December 2003

When ever the story of the Battle of Britain is to ls told mention is made of the fine weather throughbout that summer of 1940.But it was'nt always like that,some days were thick and hazy,overcast down to one or two thousand feet,maybe with a patch or two of blue,fleetingly appearing and even then only directly overhead.From my Lewis gun post,as local defence of my guns,the 4 ack-ack guns of 4.5" calibre,I heard the rattle and bang of the competing weapons.First the tearing rip of our 8x.303 Brownings,then the ominous woompah-woompah! of the enemies 2x20mm cannon.Ominous because they were heard afterwards, as we soon heard the result.
For above the noise of swooping and diving aircraft, there came a far more piercing sound,almost scream and it was coming towards us.
I frantically searched that area of sky above but could see nothing just wisps of mist and low lying cloud,but suddenly a harder shape appeared,like nothing I'd seen before for a moment it appeared to be going away from me,(following the line of the new M2 Motorway)but with a convulsive flip it turned overheading now towards what is now the Motorway bridge and as it did so something fell from it.a burning smoking bundle,tumbling through the air,the Hurricane for such it was,had no tail,I assumed that this was what fell but as these thoughts dashed through my mind the aircraft was still diving,now straight towards me.I was staring straight at the propeller boss.While only fifty feet away it flipped over once more and crashed beside the wall of Borstal prison
After the air-raid had ended a detail,was sent out from the fort to investigate the fallen object.
It was sad procession that wended it's way back into the for they brought back the "object",which was,in fact,the pilot.Terribly burned,as well as limbs broken,the force of the fall sent him into the ground some little way.
Inquiries were made as to his identity.
He was Sergeant Pilot R.A.Ward,he was 23 years old and is now buried in Croydon Cemetery Mitcham Road.Plot DD Grave number 28475
If you wish you can see the site where he fell,as you approach tyhe Medway Bridge going east,you will see a village on the opposite side of the river,that is the village of Borstal,to the right of that there is a shrub covered hill top,our guns were there.The pilot fell a few yards down the hill.You will pass it as you go up the other side towards the Chatham slip road.
Say a prayer you pass for that is Hallowed ground .

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