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The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Attacks on people
from low flying aircraft in WW2 air raids

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'Strafe' means to 'attack with fire power from a low-flying aircraft'.

Planes often flew low during World War Two air raids and it was not uncommon for people out in the street during to find themselves being strafed. This page gives some personal recollections.

Personal experiences of being strafed

In 1943 during one of my grandfather's sorties for hatching eggs, a lone German fighter plane came in very low and strafed a main road between Erith and Crayford - then a semi-rural area with corn fields on both sides of the road. I can still vividly remember seeing the young pilot's profile. He seemed not much older than I was - just like one of the boys we used to refer to at school as being 'one of the big boys'. I've occasionally wondered whether he survived the war.

Granddad and I threw ourselves into a ditch and the fertile eggs in his raincoat pocket were, needless to say, smashed to a messy pulp!

We then cowered for what seemed an eternity under the counter of the local corner shop until Granddad deemed it safe to run for safer cover. Just as well we did, as the plane turned and strafed the same road again. Granddad threatened me, "Say one word about this boy, and it will be the last time I'll take you with me"! I said nothing - not for many years afterwards!

Michael Sullivan

One day while I was cycling to school a German fighter plane appeared suddenly out of the clouds and loosed off a few rounds of machine-gun fire in my direction. It was all over in a few seconds and fortunately without my being hit.

Geoff Copus

A German pilot is caught on English soil

My mother related to me and my two older brothers that she was riding a bus west of London past a park, which naturally had been taken over as 'Dig for Victory' vegetable garden allotments, when a Nazi fighter plane made a crash landing. The bus stopped and everyone, including my mother, got off to have a look. They saw a Nazi pilot being taken into custody by a man wielding a garden fork. The man gave the badly shaken pilot a cigarette in exchange for the souvenir of a button off the Luftwaffe pilot's uniform!

Jan Clifford