The time three German airmen crash landed in Hainault

A German Junkers JU88, similar to the one which crashed in Hainault during the Blitz. Photo: Wikimed

A German Junkers JU88, similar to the one which crashed in Hainault during the Blitz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons - Credit: Archant

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

I remember a German plane crashing in a field opposite the fire station where the Hainault estate is now.

It was a wonderful sight to see because it had hit the ground perfectly, only its propellers had been smashed back and the windscreen was slightly damaged.

And what a lovely smell of oil, petrol and metal where the airframe had gouged into the field!

The three men who had survived the crash walked to the air raid shelter in New North Road and gave themselves up.

They were then taken to Barkingside Police Station, so we cycled down to see them. When we got there there were hundreds of women outside waving broomhandles and sticks waiting for the airmen to come out.

When they finally did appear they were put into a police van and the women nearly turned over the van to get to them – these men had been bombing their houses.

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I later learned that there had been four crewmen in the German bomber, and the pilot had died.

Some claimed the entire crew had all parachuted out but that the pilot had died but I don’t believe that, because the plane had landed so perfectly.

Only some slight damage had occurred, I don’t think it could possibly have been a crash landing.

I think he must have stayed with the plane and died in the crash hoping to save the plane.

The police and army werre standing guard by the aircraft, but my mate and I were still about to get some large chunks of windscreen that were lying in the grass.

We had a great idea – we would cut them into one-inch square pieces and make a little diamond effect on one edge, then drill a hole so you could put your finger through the diamond.

We took them into school and sold them to girls for threepence each.

Our good fortune did not last long, because the demands from girls meant we had soon run out of perspex from the aircraft.