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The day a bullet riddled German bomber sat on the halfway line

PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:47 27 October 2020

The day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line at Crown Meadow. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Collis

The day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line at Crown Meadow. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Collis

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It has held many memorable matches and attracted colourful away teams over the years.

The Dornier bomber was exhibited on a tour of the country to boost morale. Picture: Courtesy of Bob CollisThe Dornier bomber was exhibited on a tour of the country to boost morale. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Collis

It has held many memorable matches and attracted colourful away teams over the years.

But perhaps the strangest sight to have made it onto the pitch of the Crown Meadow football ground in Lowestoft was a German bomber exhibited there 80 years ago.

The day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line was recalled at a special event. Mayor of Lowestoft and club director Alan Green with historian Bob Collis on the pitch where the bomber was exhibited. Picture: Courtesy of Bob CollisThe day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line was recalled at a special event. Mayor of Lowestoft and club director Alan Green with historian Bob Collis on the pitch where the bomber was exhibited. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Collis

And the day Lowestoft Town Football Club welcomed a German Dornier 17 bomber to the centre spot has been recalled at a special event.

Last Friday’s event was suggested by aviation historian Bob Collis, who has a photograph showing the bomber standing on the pitch being inspected by local people.

The day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line was recalled at a special event. Mayor of Lowestoft and club director Alan Green with historian Bob Collis on the pitch where the bomber was exhibited. Picture: Courtesy of Bob CollisThe day Lowestoft Town FC had a Dornier on the halfway line was recalled at a special event. Mayor of Lowestoft and club director Alan Green with historian Bob Collis on the pitch where the bomber was exhibited. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Collis

The aircraft, a Dornier Do 17Z from the Luftwaffe unit 8/KG.76, was shot down by Spitfires over Kent on September 15, 1940.

The bullet riddled bomber had crash landed at Castle Farm, Shoreham, with three of the crew wounded, one fatally.

The Dornier was one of a number of German aircraft taken on tour by the British authorities to boost morale and raise funds for the war effort.

For 6d (sixpence) towards the “Spitfire fund” local people were allowed entrance into Crown Meadow for a close inspection of the raider.

A set of steps were placed next to the aircraft and people were able to peer inside the cockpit.

Several who recall visiting the unusual exhibition remember being quite horrified to see dried blood stains still extant on the gunner’s seat inside.

The aircraft arrived in sections on two RAF ‘Queen Mary’ low-loaders on October 23, 1940, and was reassembled using a small crane.

The mayor of Lowestoft and club director, Alan Green, posed for photographs on the same spot where the Dornier stood to mark the event.

Mr Collis read a message from Dave Brocklehurst, MBE, the chairman of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust at Hawkinge, who reminded everyone there is only one surviving Battle of Britain fighter pilot still living, Group Captain John ‘Paddy’ Hemingway, who is now 101.

Mr Brocklehurst said: “I am sure that ‘Paddy’ would have approved, knowing that the good people of Lowestoft are holding their own commemoration today, but more importantly, remembering.”

Mr Collis said: “I am very grateful to Mayor Alan Green and the directors of the club for allowing us to mark the event in this way.”


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