Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Launch

Exbury Junkers

Outdoor Talk - Part II
By: John Stanley

There was chaos and confusion. Cannon shells were flying everywhere, some bounced off the Nissen huts.

John Lambourne, a Marine, at first thought the German plane was strafing the camp but quickly realised that this was not the case. The Junkers was so low that he could make out two of the crew in the front of the cockpit.

Surgeon Lt Richard Stephens, who was HMS Mastodon's dentist, was up in his room above the colonnade at Exbury House. As he looked out, he saw the German bomber descending at a shallow angle.

A number of sailors and Marines watched in disbelief as the Junkers came down in the field in front of us. John Lambourne was convinced that it was going to land and set off after it in anticipation of taking its crew prisoner.

It seems that the bomber crash-landed, without lowering its wheels, and bumped or skidded along the ground for some distance. It came to a sudden and violent stop as it encountered a shallow pond in the far corner of the field, just to the left of the copse you can see, and just before the hedge running across, and the narrow road beyond it.

A fire immediately broke out which destroyed much of the cockpit and fuselage. As the bomber hit the pond, its two engines broke away and crashed through the hedge, rolled over the narrow road, through the next hedge and ended up some distance into the field beyond. One of the engines narrowly missed Leading Seaman Reg Wilson, who happened to be cycling along the Lower Exbury road just at the wrong time.

A number of the navy servicemen climbed over the hedge and the barbed wire which marked the perimeter of the base. A superior shouted out that this action amounted to "Breaking ship" - a major offence, but the men carried on regardless.

John Lambourne was one of the first men to reach the downed bomber. He immediately noticed two young men in blue-grey Luftwaffe tunics and brown flying helmets. They were lying on their backs beneath the hedge. As John went to loosen one of the men's collars he mumbled something in German. Both men were obviously badly injured.

It transpired that four of the men on board the bomber had been thrown forwards out of the cockpit as it crashed into the pond. Two of these men died almost immediately. Another three bodies were found in or around the wreckage in the pond. These men had truly horrific injuries.

The crash scene was also attended by the medical officer, the dentist, and the sick berth CPO. It was decided to get those casualties showing any signs of life back to the sick bay. This was a Nissen hut just off the main drive, close to Exbury House.

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