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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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316 of 364  Tue 19th Sep 2017 10:05am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Shortly Michael Portillo will be doing a documentary on Shepton Mallet, may be of interest to some of our ex-service forum members. Shepton Mallet was an Army jail (Glasshouse) that was feared, kept much of a secret during the war, but about 1943 time the Yanks used it for a couple of years, here they had a death row and executions. It also held some of Britain's hardest villains in 1945. Life was so bad for them they self-inflicted injuries, jumped off balconies etc to get a brief spell in hospital. The prison hospital was a few miles away at Shaftesbury, where I met some of them (as a guard), not a pleasant experience for an eighteen year old Coventry kid.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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317 of 364  Tue 19th Sep 2017 10:20am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Midland Red, then I got my dates wrong, sorry about that. It was definitely the Junkers crash I visited. But I never heard of a second crash, although I visited the Half Moon pub, Withybrook, often during that time. Our friends' farm was down the switchback lane of that village.
Our Kaga
Midland Red
Cherwell
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318 of 364  Tue 19th Sep 2017 3:51pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4604

A bit more info about the Junkers crash - it hit balloon cable site 4, 916 Squadron, was wrecked, some bombs exploded, some jettisoned over Coventry Does anyone know the balloon cable location?

Question

Our Kaga
Midland Red
Cherwell
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319 of 364  Tue 19th Sep 2017 3:56pm  
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On 19th Sep 2017 10:20am, Kaga simpson said: Midland Red, then I got my dates wrong, sorry about that. It was definitely the Junkers crash I visited. But I never heard of a second crash, although I visited the Half Moon pub, Withybrook, often during that time. Our friends' farm was down the switchback lane of that village.
The Heinkel crashed at Workshop Farm, Main Street, Withybrook Thumbs up Lionel Perkins, the dairy farmer there, witnessed the crash
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Annewiggy
Tamworth
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320 of 364  Tue 19th Sep 2017 8:57pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1049

This article is from the Midland Daily Telegraph 20th November 1940 from the British newspaper archive site.
Our Kaga
matchle55
Coventry
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321 of 364  Wed 20th Sep 2017 9:19am  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:169

I mentioned this in a previous post, the plane crashed at Hopsford Hall Farm, near Withybrook. Kaga, I would presume that the Half Moon is what is now called the Pheasant??????. This plane, a Junkers JU88 crashed on Sept 16th 1940. Edited by member, 20th Sep 2017 9:25 am
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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322 of 364  Wed 20th Sep 2017 11:14am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Thanks to all the people that responded to this. matchles55 - I think the last time I went to the Half Moon was around 1949 and we used the aqueduct under the canal to cross the farm fields. The main entrance to the farm was from the Brinklow road, the entrance now has been changed to the switchback road in Withybrook so I've been told. The house my parents lived in at that time has now vanished under the golf course.
Our Kaga
Midland Red
Cherwell
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323 of 364  Wed 20th Sep 2017 11:45am  
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On 20th Sep 2017 9:19am, matchle55 said: Kaga, I would presume that the Half Moon is what is now called the Pheasant??????
Yes, the Half Moon became the Pheasant Thumbs up
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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324 of 364  Mon 25th Sep 2017 10:11am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

matchle55. The sequel of the story, my young 10 year old brother went back 5 years later to Hopsford Hall Farm and worked for them for some years
Our Kaga
NormK
bulkington
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325 of 364  Mon 25th Sep 2017 11:16am  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:847

I have fished the pool at Hopsford Hall many times, this is the first time I have heard anything about the plane coming down there..
Milly rules

Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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326 of 364  Sun 1st Oct 2017 4:53pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Around the time of the late 1920's the suburbs of Coventry were mostly farms and fields and heaths, in spring and summer fields clothed in beautiful wild flowers, hedges abundant with wild fruit and berries, birds of colour and song, the sky filled with song from many skylarks, the slough teeming with fish fed by two clean streams. The houses rang from laughter, crying, squabbles. Street life was the same, the village like one big family, ten-twenty kids playing football in the street ages from five to 16, we grew up as a friendly community. and the city for shopping, entertainment and pride. This was the world I was born in. But mid-thirties the streams began to get polluted from industrial waste, the fish and birds began to die and the world was talking of war. And my life turned upside down. Gone was the laughter. 1939, elder brothers and sisters, friends, were called away to war, and the houses died, the laughter and life were missing, so was the local football team, the team of our friends that we had grown up with, every one of them enlisted. Parents with a couple of teenage boys now had anxious faces, the smiles gone and everywhere was talk of 'Destruction'. The beautiful flowers were ploughed under, the birds fled from the gun-fire, lorries full of soldiers, tanks, guns across the fields, where people once picnicked. Teachers taught gas mask drill, first-aid etc, real lessons curtailed at a very early age. Bombing - relatives and friends died, the city I knew and loved, destroyed, hate took the place of laughter, my education was now learning how to kill and destroy, for more years than I had at a normal education. Buildings can be replaced, but memory remains the same forever.
Our Kaga
Greg
Coventry
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327 of 364  Sun 1st Oct 2017 5:55pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2011  Total posts:236

Thank you for painting such a word picture of the effect of the onset of war, Kaga. I was born in 1942 and my first memories are from 1945 but it was many years later that I found out that we had been bombed out and that the house I knew as home was, in fact, a house the family were temporarily renting. I found out little about what happened in the war, from my family.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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328 of 364  Thu 2nd Nov 2017 4:24pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Rob posted on Sunday about Lee Child. Well my wife was looking through the tv guide for the week, said to me "You may be interested in this, Lee Child is talking about his new book to someone on the radio". I said "That could be interesting, he has nowhere to go, Jack Reacher is too old for the kind of stuff he's been doing over the years". Well I listened to the programme on Tuesday, and lo and behold his book is about Jack Reacher's father's young days. He also talked about the fifties and ration cards etc. There is also a programme tonight about Glasgow's notorous prison on ITV. But England's oldest and most notorious one was a military one at Shepton Mallet - during the war it held some of Britain's most historical documents including the Doomsday Book etc. In 1942 to Sept 1945 it was taken over by the American Military, and held a death row, had many executions, and lots of stories. One told to me by British inmates of the prison in Dec 1945 was the most popular American inmate had been a big black yankee soldier who had killed a Liverpool prostitute by doing what he had paid for, but it was the British judge's description of the death, and the physical build of the man, that hit the front page headlines in the daily papers, 43/44 time. I had been sent on a very special guard duty over long-term prisoners from Shepton Mallet, now in a small hospital that held a number of characters that made the Kray brothers look like angels. I believe the duty I did was the first and last time it was performed by non-Military Police, but there is no way I can verify it. It also had a lot of intrigue about it. It was being in the wrong place at the wrong time that landed me on that guard duty, but an experience that I look back on as seeing the other side of life to what I had been brought up in.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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329 of 364  Fri 3rd Nov 2017 2:48pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

Over the next few weeks my thoughts will take me back to 44/5. Nov 44 and early 45, and Hitler launched his one last bid to win the war, he threw everything he had into the savagest battle of the war - in the Battle of the Ardennes, a huge forest of pines that stretched for miles. Mainly the Americans took the brunt, but the English sector was hard pressed, but one unit that was thrown into the battle was the Midlands Battalion of the Parachute Reg't - around 40/50 "Coventry lads" were in that battle. It was 16 below freezing with snowstorms, nothing could hardly move, no supplies, no food, only the guns kept firing. The Germans fired into the top of the trees, great lumps of iron and slivers of wood splints fell on the troops - the wounded froze to death within a hour. In places the SS troops took no prisoners. For a few months it was a WW1 scene, guys tried to dig in trenches to escape the bombardment, both sides took heavy losses. Many never saw Coventry again. Soldiers don't discuss this with relatives, but they do amongst themselves. I heard it when I joined them twelve months later.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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330 of 364  Wed 8th Nov 2017 12:14pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:1864

It was the autumn of 1953 and I was in the Burges - it began to rain so I ran into the White Lion. Inside on the bench sat two guys, the younger one was a friend of a friend sort of guy, I had seen him many times at dances and places but we had never spoken - we nodded (I'll call him Eddie). I walked to the bar and ordered a drink, a few minutes later the older guy passed by me and went down the corridor. Eddie came and stood at my side. "Hi, Kaga, we never been introduced, but would you do me a favour, would you come and talk to us, I lost my mother a month ago, my dad's taking it bad, I've brought him out, but . ." "Yes, but what can I talk about to help?" The horses, he used to like a flutter, so I joined them, talked of racing - he did seem to rally a little, an hour later and I left, never saw either again until . . It was about the last day of March 1954 and the phone went, it was Eddie, and he sounded bad. "Kaga, my dad died two weeks ago and I've got to get away." (The guy was breaking up). "I don't know anyone to talk to, I know you move around." (He sounded in tears) "What should I do?" "Eddie, do you have a passport by any chance?" "Yes I do." "Can you cancel the milk, lock the place for a couple of weeks?" "Yes." "Then do it, put a bath towel, swimming trunks, shaving kit, in a shoulder bag, meet me on Coventry Station 8am tomorrow, can you do that?" "Yes I think so" "Eddie," I snapped, "Don't think just do it." I put the phone down. We met next morning, he had brought a small case, we caught a train to Dover via Euston, the ferry and landed on the beach at Cannes.
Our Kaga

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