Memorial to a German Pilot near Didling

Memorial to a WWII German Pilot on The South Downs Way

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I came across a small memorial next to The South Downs Way near Didling today – dedicated to a 25 year-old German Pilot called Hauptmann Joseph Oestermann who was shot down and killed over The South Downs on the 13th August 1940. 

Oestermann was flying a Ju88 bomber as part of Luftwaffe KG 54 Bomber Group on the first day of Germany’s offensive against the RAF ahead of their planned invasion of Britain. The German bomber was downed by a British Hurricane, piloted by Pilot Officer Mayers of 601 Squadron flying out of nearby Tangmere Airfield just a few miles east of Chichester.

Two other airmen from the German plane parachuted to safety and were captured. Ironically, the British Hurricane pilot was shot down later that same day over the English Channel. Mayers suffered leg injuries but survived.

One thing that struck me about the memorial is that it is still well tended by local people and passers-by using The South Downs Way. Seeing a British Remembrance Day poppy on a German war memorial is a poignant reminder of all the lives lost during the Second World War – regardless of their nationalities or beliefs.

Ich stieß auf ein kleines Denkmal neben der South Downs Way in der Nähe diddling heute – steht für eine 25-jährige deutsche Pilot namens Hauptmann Joseph Oestermann, die nach unten und wurde erschossen in der South Downs am 13. August 1940.

Oestermann flog eine Ju88 Bomber als Teil der Luftwaffe KG 54 (Bomber-Gruppe 54) am ersten Tag der Deutschland den Angriff gegen die RAF vor ihrer geplanten Invasion Englands. Die deutschen Bomber wurde von einem britischen Hurricane, Pilot Officer von Mayers von 601 Squadron fliegt aus der nahe gelegenen Flugplatz Tangmere nur ein paar Meilen östlich von Chichester pilotiert abgeschossen.

Zwei weitere Flieger aus dem deutschen Flugzeug mit dem Fallschirm in Sicherheit und wurden gefangen genommen – während die britischen Piloten auch Mayers wurde nach unten gedreht später am selben Tag über den Ärmelkanal. Mayers erlitten Beinverletzungen, aber überlebt.

Eine Sache, die mir von der Gedenkstätte getroffen ist, dass es immer noch gut von der lokalen Bevölkerung und Passanten mit dem South Downs Way neigten. Seeing ein Gedenktag Mohn auf einer deutschen Gedenkstätte ist eine rührende Erinnerung an all die Opfer des Zweiten Weltkrieges verloren – unabhängig von ihrer Nationalität oder ihres Glaubens.

Sussex Wildlife Trust ‘Sussex Seasons’ Photography Competition

The village of Harting, West Sussex

I’m pleased to say that I’m a winner in the Sussex Seasons photography competition organised by the Sussex Wildlife Trust! The winning photos form part of the Trust’s 2012 calendar which you can download from their website.

Two of my photos were selected for the calendar. One of them is a picture that I took of the Sussex village of Harting from the top of the South Downs last February. It was one of those photo opportunities that come along once in a blue moon. We live at the bottom of the Downs, and I could tell from the light above the fog that was swirling about us that if I could get to the top of the Downs I would be above the mist and there might be a chance of a decent picture. And here it is. Everything fell into place, and of course a few moments later and the opportunity had gone.

Here are more pictures by Simon Verrall on Flickr.