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Stewart Grant

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  1. I am local to the crash site and have some knowledge through relatives that attended the site on the day of the crash. I have also used a metal detector on the site and recovered parts of the aircraft. Previous accounts indicate that the bomb load had been dropped or jettisoned. However, it is clear that the aircraft was extremely fragmented and from witness accounts, the crew also. My Grandmother described the site of part of a jaw and teeth being kicked in the grass by a local man. Others describe the search over a wide area by military personel. The amount of bomb shrapnel that I found in the field further away from the impact would attest to at least one bomb still being aboard when the aircraft crashed. This would also explain the absence of large assemblies in the photo. The aircraft was at relatively low level when it was engaged and lower still when it became uncontrollable for whatever reason. It did not hit the ground at terminal velocity and witnesses describe a loud bang from at least a mile from the impact. The blood soaked bandages are not corroborated and crew garments may have appeared thus in tattered form. The space inside a Ju88 does not not lend itself to administering first aid and given the need to evade after dropping a bomb load, would have been low in priority and simply impossible once fighters had been spotted preparing to engage. Navigating out of Southern England, again at low level, with fighters swarming everywhere would require the entire crew at their stations. Had the aircraft been crippled, there was no evidence for it in the combat report regarding engine smoke or a feathered prop. It seems likely that the crew remains would not have been collected in individual containers. Sacks for what little that could be found. Identification later and any association of parts with recovered tags would have been almost impossible. The landowner was approached at some point after the war regarding a memorial stone beside the crash site, to what were then unknown airman, but apparently refused. Hence the memorial being far away from the crash site. This is indicative of a strong anti Nazi feeling in this particular village. Several locals recall an Me109 straifing civilians in fields a short distance away. Fortunately none were injured on this occasion. Many local family's lost loved one's in both Wars. The local airfield was bombed. Livestock were killed by stray bombs dropping in fields nearby and of course Portsmouth and Southampton lit the skies at this distance and when they were attacked. Little attention would have been payed to the remains of the crew by this community. The field was quickly raiked over and any remaining metal fragments picked up by souvenir hunters or turned in by the plough. The amount of small fragments are still cursed by dectorists today who are looking for more ancient treasures. But I still have Luftwaffe paint on alloy and a serial numbered part in my collection in tribute to a brave crew and real part of a dramatic moment in history. I look forward to any further information on the burial of this crew. I too am puzzled by the gap in recording. Even at the height of this battle records are shown to be extraordinarily well kept. The lorry going to Kent? Could it just have been on its way anyway, on another duty? The burial the next day surely without identification. And local feeling in the village would have almost certainly put the parish churches off any offer of a burial nearby. If transport was available the remains of these four young men were leaving today. Good luck with your research.
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