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- Ronald Fuller
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- 06 October 2004
Some Memories of a teenage youth during the early and middle years of World War two, times and dates are not quoted as the memory has dimmed but the events are true.
I was a butcher boy aged about 15, it was Friday lunchtime, we had been busy all morning with rolling joints of meat for our customers, as was usual, and would continue all day.
At one o'clock we packed up and went home to lunch. Suddenly ,- no alarm--the roar of engines!
We were on time to see several German fighter bombers flying almost over the tops of the houses, their guns firing.
We saw the bombs drop, watched them hit some houses, and saw the debris fly through the sky.
Having eaten my dinner, I went back to work. The bombs had wrecked some houses in Green Street, Old Town, and had blown the windows out of our shop - E.Mercers. There was glass everywhere and all the meat had to be destroyed, and thrown away. We had another delivery of meat and started all over again, working all Friday night.
I was with Gordon Strange a good friend, it was Sunday morning and a lovely sunny day. We were in Terminus Road opposite Barclay's Bank, we were in our Sunday best clothes.Then without warning ! suddenly the roar of engines, the blast of machine guns and cannon fire.
The German Fighter Bombers were at roof top height, we just caught a glimpse of them, and in front of our eyes about 50 yards away the bombs hit Barclay's Bank. It just disintegrated into a pile of rubble. There were cheques and papers flying everywhere, but no casualties, only two very dusty observers.
It was a time when the Allies were sending hundreds of planes over Europe to bomb the Germans. It was so on this day , overcast and drizzly, miserable. It was just after lunch, I was with a friend, we heard this noise, it did not sound good, an American Liberator bomber flying very low, we could see it was badly damaged and in some trouble.
We knew it would not get over the hills, we ran as fast as we could , and eventually found where the plane had crashed.There were no survivors. One of the engines had broken away and rolled onto one of the crew who had apparently, tried to jump clear, but sadly was crushed and had died. He was also very badly burned; so very sad when he was so near to escaping.
There is a memorial stone on the spot to this day, which is visited by the relatives of those who died there.
My friends and I were young, fit and always looking for adventure, we enjoyed the drama of the war, and had no fear. We were eager to join the forces and get at the enemy. But that was the spirit at the time.
May I add a P.S. the world should never forget that it was only the British who for two years stood between the Germans and it's allies and world domination.
We had many other adventures and narrow escapes, but that is another story.
It may be of interest to the reader that a book has been written by Mr Kevin Watson on the story of Ruthless which was the name of the Liberator Bomber which crashed on the hills on that dreadful day. The book is a nominal price and has many recollections on the subject as Mr Watson has collated information from The USA and other countries which were involved by virtue of the country of origin of the crew members.
There has been a memorial service on the hills close to the plaque and site of the crash, which the mayor attended and various other dignataries, there was a band and a representative of the American military, who controlled the group and the overall service in conjunction with the local officers.
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