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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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When I Stared into the eyes of a German Pilot

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
James Smith, my mother and my granny
Location of story: 
Lewes, East Sussex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A4920185
Contributed on: 
10 August 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Karolyn Milam of Uckfield Community Learning Centre, a volunteer from BBC Southern Counties Radio on behalf of Mr. James Smith and has been added to the site with his/her permission. Mr. James Smith fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was born in 1934 and was only 5 years old when the war started in 1939. I attended Southover Church School in Lewes and on this particular day, 20th January 1943, I went home for dinner between 12 noon and 2.00pm. When I arrived home my mother told me to go upstairs to see my Granny who was staying at our house as she had heart trouble and never left her bedroom. Granny’s bedroom was right at the top of the stairs so I ran up to see her and for some reason I looked out of her window before I spoke to her. There was an almighty roar as I looked from the window to see what was making such a roar. I saw a German bomber and I could see the pilot quite clearly. He looked straight at me an I shall always remember his deep blue eyes. Just before he flew over our house, my mother said that I must have been the last person to see him alive. The bomber was shot down over the brooks which were south of Lewes.

My mother told me later that that bomber had dropped two bombs in Lewes These bombs destroyed a public house called ‘Stag Inn’ and killed two Lewes people

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