Contributed by: derbycsv
People in story: Elizabeth Innes-Smith
Location of story: Whitstable Kent
Background to story: Civilian
Article ID: A5040325
Contributed on: 12 August 2005
Sitting in the cinema one summer afternoon we were alarmed to hear a plane going over very low, engine spluttering and clearly in trouble. We thought it was going to hit us. When we came out people were saying a German Dornier bomber had crashed at Seasalter, a little way up the coast from Whitstable. Being curious, I got on my bike and instead of going home rode off to have a look. It was low tide and far away across the mud I could see a crashed plane. Two ambulance men were walking towards the shore carrying a German airman on a stretcher. I waited near the ambulance and when they arrived and put the stretcher down I realised he was dead. His body was covered with a blanket but it had slipped a little and uncovered one of his hands. I’ll never forget how the pathos of that young man’s hand affected me and my overwhelming feeling of sadness that someone who loved him had lost him.
As they slid him into the ambulance one of the men noticed what beautiful quality leather flying boots he was wearing. “Cor, look at this,” he said taking hold of a foot and shaking it. “Fine pair of boots”.
“Don’t do that, don’t do that” I wanted to scream. It was sacrilege.
The wreckage of the Dornier stayed under the sea half buried in the mud but visible and visit able when the tide went out for decades.
WW2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar. This contribution is published here under the ‘Fair dealing policy’. Copyright remains with the contributor.