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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Ones That Got Away

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Peter D Lock
Location of story: 
The Skaggerak, Denmark
Background to story: 
Royal Navy
Article ID: 
A4040696
Contributed on: 
09 May 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War website by Steven Turner a Peoples War Story Gatherer with the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Action Desk. It was submitted at Duxford Museum during their VE celebrations on behalf of Peter Lock and has been added to the site with his permission.
He fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

"I was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm doing convoy protection missions for most of the war, covering the Russian Convoys. I flew the Seafire, Corsair, Hellcat and Wildcat after completing my training in Canada.

On V.E Day I was with 882 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, part of a Carrier Air Group in the Skagerrak/kattegat area between Denmark and Norway. It was 10am that morning, I was flying a Grumman Wildcat fighter from H.M.S Searcher, on a Combat Air Patrol above the fleet. I could see two aircraft approaching and identified them as German JU52 transport aircraft. They had Tri-motors. I asked the carrier if I had permission to shoot them down. I fired a burst across the nose of the lead aircraft and lots of faces appeared at the windows and started waving. Because peace had been declared I was told to let them go. At debrief, when I had landed the intelligence officers said that I had probably found two loads of S.S men trying to get to Stockholm and get away from France. I always refer to them as the ones that got away!

My Mother and sister lived on Jersey during the war, which was occupied by the Germans. I was away in England at School when they invaded. Mother had a young escapee Todt labourer in her attic for two years despite having a German officer's mess next door. When I returned from Denmark I thumbed a lift across the country in various aircraft until I got to an RAF base near Plymouth. The only way I could get to Jersey was by sea so I went to the harbour at Devonport and asked if there was anyone going to Jersey. I ended up on a Motor Torpedo Boat which would be carrying the first mail for the island since the wars end. I shared the steering with the officer in charge and as we went past the La Corbiere lighthouse he put the engines to full throttle "just to test them"!

My mother didn't recognise me when I arrived at her front door. She simply looked at me and said "yes?".She had been expecting an RAF uniform with me flying and not a naval uniform! I hadn't seen her for five years. I was there for three days and then returned to the fleet whereupon we were sent out to the Far East."

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Royal Navy Category
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