Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Launch

Exbury Junkers

The Exbury Junkers: A World War II Mystery - Part I
By John Stanley

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

I'd like to start off by thanking you all for making the journey to Exbury today. I know some of you have travelled quite a distance to be here - you've come from various parts of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Sussex, Devon, London, Bedfordshire and Gloucestershire, but I think the record is held by Allan Green and his wife who have travelled all the way down from Bolton. Anyway it's wonderful to see that so many of you could come and share in this occasion to mark the publication of my book. And I hope that are having an enjoyable time.

Although I have either corresponded with, or spoken on the phone to, all of you over the last few years this is the first time that I've actually been able to meet most of you and I'm delighted to have this opportunity to thank you all in person for helping me with my research. Without your support, my book would never have come to fruition.

The fact that we are here this weekend is no coincidence. Tomorrow, the 18th April 2004, will be the 60th anniversary of the German bomber crash at Exbury, and I felt that it would be very fitting date indeed on which to mark the publication of my book.

And here is the book. "The Exbury Junkers: A World War II Mystery". It is published by Woodfield Publishing, who are based in Bognor Regis, and I'm very pleased to be able to welcome here today Nick and Linda Sheppard, who run Woodfield Publishing. A big thank you to Nick and Linda for taking on this book, and for believing in my work. I very much appreciate it.

Let's go right back to the start. The question I've been asked the most about my research into the Exbury Junkers mystery is "how did you first find out about this wartime incident ?". Well, it was almost eight years ago now. My family and I were on holiday on the Isle of Wight, and we happened to be taking a walk down Shanklin Chine which, for those of you who haven't been there, is a deep narrow ravine, with a waterfall, a tumbling stream, lots of dark green vegetation and a lovely winding footpath. It is particularly magical in the evenings, when it is illuminated by coloured lights. Well, at the end of the walk, towards the foot of the Chine is a building which is used to hold exhibitions. And on the day we took our walk, an exhibition was being held to commemorate the Island's experiences of World War II.

I had always been interested in the Second World War, so wild horses couldn't have kept me away from this exhibition . Understandably, though, the children, who were very young at the time, were none too keen to be there, and after five minutes the troops were definitely getting restless. I remember there was a tugging at my sleeve, and a "Can we go yet ?" and of course that was just my wife, Julie.

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