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15 October 2014
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Peter Dawbarn -Part 4: Flippin' Heinkel 111

by Genevieve

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Peter Dawbarn
Location of story: 
Debden, Essex
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 June 2005

After recovering from my accident it was getting towards Christmas. I went back to Debden, and for about a month, six weeks I was on ground duties.

One night I was put on in the control tower, in charge of night-flying. Not that we were doing any flying from there, but in case any of our bombers or anybody coming back from raids wanted to land- either if they were out of petrol or lost or something. I was there this night and I could hear a plane going around on the circuit and he was flashing his Aldis lamp; so I rang the officer and said ‘there’s an aircraft circling’, and they said ‘it’s ok it’s a Wellington coming back, let him in’. So I signalled to him to come in, and he landed, and turned around on the runway to come back, and I looked and it wasn’t a Wellington, it was a flipping Heinkel 111!

So being an idiot, I rushed out with my flare pistol and fired it at him. It was a stupid thing to do really, but I didn’t have a gun. It lit me up and they could have shot me, but they didn’t- they turned around and took off again! I rang the officer and told him, and he said ‘oh my God!’
Apparently he landed at about three other airfields that night, just to show how easy it was to land at a British airfield.

I think things tightened up after that.

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Becky Barugh of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk on behalf of Peter Dawbarn and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

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