Buried treasure between Fairlop and Hainault?

Fairlop Station in the 1930s. Photo: London Railways

Fairlop Station in the 1930s. Photo: London Railways - Credit: Archant

Hainault resident Derek Hall recalls more memories of the Blitz in east London.

My mates and I kept two of the bullets from the crashed German fighter in Hainault, one each, and decided we might try to fire them.

We went into his father’s shed and put one into a vice, with me holding a six inch nail, and him holding the hammer.

We tried to hit the firing pin but the nail slipped and we fell about laughing.

Then his older brother , who was in the garden, came to see what was going on – when he saw what we were trying to do he went mad.

He threw us out of the shed saying, “are you trying to kill yourselves?”

Of course, we didn’t realise the consequences of firing a bullet like that, it could have ricocheted around the shed and killed both of us.

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I did have one trophy left, I found a beautiful parachute flare, it had copper thread running down it from the pilot’s silk parachute, but with no actual flare attached.

Police were now coming round looking for any items that had been thrown from the plane.

They said if anyone was caught withholding anything they would be put in prison.

I think they were just trying to scare the living daylights out of us.

I thought “they’re not getting my parachute”, so when the police had gone I grabbed my father’s shovel, tied it to my bike and cycled to the park, to an area between Hainault Station and Fairlop.

There was a line of trees and some large concrete blocks called Tank Traps – these were put in place in case of invasion by the German army.

I counted out from one of the tank traps and then from one of the trees and dug a hole to put my trophy in. I thought I would leave it there until the hoo-haa had died down.

Four weeks later I went back to the tank trap to reclaim my treasure, full of expectation. I counted out the steps but it wasn’t there.

As there were 30 tank traps, and as I was so terrified of anyone seeing me, I must have miscalculated which tree and which tank trap I was counting from, and so my great trophy from the war was lost, never to be found.