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The tale of the WW2 Luftwaffe pilot who mistakenly landed in west Wales

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IT WAS this time of year, 1942, that a bizarre series of events led to a German fighter pilot landing at RAF Pembrey in South Wales, unintentionally aiding the war effort of The Allied Forces in the process.

On June 23, 1942, Oberleautnant Armin Fabar was ordered to a fly a combat mission along with his squadron, in response to an Allied bombing raid of northern France.

Armin Faber mistakenly flew to South Wales after the dog-fight

Fabar’s squadron (the 7th Staffel) all flew Focke-Wulf 190 fighter planes. These planes were seen as superior to the then current Spitfires of the Allied Forces, and in the subsequent dog-fight that developed over The English Channel seven Spitfires were shot down, compared to only two Focke-Wulf 190s (FW-190s).

One Czechoslovakian Spitfire pilot, Alois Vašátko, dramatically lost his life when, in the fray of combat, he collided head-on with an FW-190. The German pilot bailed out and was later captured by Allied Forces.

Spitfire pilot Alois Vašátko lost his life in the battle

In the ensuing battle, Faber became disorientated and was separated from his squadron. He was attacked by a Spitfire manned by Seargent František Trejtnar. In a desperate attempt to shake off his pursuer, Faber fled North over the skies of Devon. He pulled off a brilliant ‘Immelman Turn’, a move in which the sun is used to dazzle a pursuer on your tail. Now flying directly from Trejtnar’s view of the sun, Faber shot him down.

Trejtnar crashed near the village of Black Dog, Devon suffering shrapnel wounds and a broken arm.

The victorious Faber had another problem entirely, though he was unaware of it at the time. He had mistaken The Bristol Channel for The English Channel, and flew north into south Wales, thinking it was northern France!

Finding the nearest airfield – RAF Pembrey, in Carmarthernshire, Faber prepared to land. Observers on the ground ‘could not believe their eyes’ as Faber waggled his wings in a victory celebration, lowered the Focke-Wulf’s undercarriage and landed.

Faber expected to be greeted with open arms by his German brothers, but was instead greeted by Pembrey Duty Pilot, Sgt Matthews, pointing a flare gun at his face (he had no other weapon to hand).

As the gravity of the mistake slowly dawned on him, the stricken Faber was ‘so despondent that he attempted suicide’ unsuccessfully.

Faber was later driven to RAF Fairwood Common for interrogation under the escort of Group Captain David Atcherley. Atcherley, fearful of an escape attempt, aimed his revolver at Faber for the entire journey. At one point the car hit a pothole, causing the weapon to fire; the shot only narrowly missing Faber’s head!

Fabers mistaken landing in Wales was a gift for The Allied Forces, a disaster for The Third Reich.

He had inadvertently presented the RAF with one of the greatest prizes of the entire war – an intact example of the formidable Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane, an aircraft the British had learned to fear and dread ever since it made its combat debut the previous year.

Over the following months Faber’s plane was examined in minute detail, the allies desperately looking for any weakness in the FW-190. There were few to be found.

They did find one, however.

The FW-190s became relatively sluggish at higher altitudes. This knowledge aided the Allied Forces and saved countless lives, as the aerial battles turned increasingly in their favour.

Faber was taken as a prisoner of war, eventually being sent to a POW camp in Canada. Towards the end of the war he was sent home to Germany due to his ill health.

49 years later Faber would visit the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, where parts of his FW-190 are displayed to this day, along with parts of the Spitfire that he shot down in the skies over Devon. He presented the Museum with his officer’s dagger and pilot’s badge.

This little-known but important piece of Carmarthenshire history illustrates not only the high-stakes arms race between The Third Reich and The Allied Forces during WW2, but also the cost of human error.

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Magistrates uphold council decision not to renew dog-breeding licence

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ON MONDAY 18 November 2019, Rhydian Jones of Waun Lluest, Gorrig, Llandysul appeared before Aberystwyth Magistrates at an appeal hearing objecting to the decision not to renew his Dog Breeding Licence.

Ceredigion County Council took the decision under the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014, because of breaches in licence conditions identified during unannounced inspections of the premises. The breaches included the lack of supervision, enrichment and socialisation given to the dogs. Breaches also included the unsatisfactory cleaning of premises and the absence of dog breeding records. There was also a failure to make improvements requested of Mr Jones previously.

Health and Welfare Reports provided during the hearing detailed health problems with the dogs which included lice and mange.

Mr Jones disputed the findings and decision of the council throughout the appeal hearing. His defence referred to the considerable amount of improvements that had been completed.

The court concluded that the council had provided full and clear grounds for not renewing the Dog Breeding Licence, stating that the council was both reasonable and proportionate in their actions. The court accepted that the establishment was unsatisfactory in many respects whilst acknowledging that significant improvements had been made. It took into consideration the history of non-compliance at Waun Lluest, the testimony given by the appellant and the lack of confidence in him as a licensee. The court concluded that the recent improvements made by Mr Jones were unlikely to be sustained and found in favour of the council. The appeal was dismissed. Mr Jones was ordered to pay £500 costs.

Alun Williams is the council’s Corporate Lead Officer responsible for Policy and Performance. He said, “We are delighted that Magistrates found in our favour. A decision not to renew a licence is not taken lightly and officers and council solicitors had to build a robust case to present to the court. We will continue to make unannounced inspection visits to all licensed dog breeders in the county, the great majority of which operate well within regulations and the conditions of their licence. We will also pursue those individuals who breed dogs without a licence. Anyone with information on such activities should contact the council on 01545 570 881.”

Mr Jones previously held a licence to breed 26 adult dogs. His establishment had recently featured in a BBC Wales investigative documentary, although the council had decided not to renew the licence many months before broadcast.

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A Battered Suitcase in the Attic: Explore Your Own Archive

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CEREDIGION’S Explore Your Own Archives’ campaign, ‘A Battered Suitcase in the Attic’, will be held from 25 to 30 November 2019. The intention is to get people to value their own personal archives. The title reflects the half-forgotten treasures that many people have hidden in the attic or under the bed in their homes.

Explore Your Archive is a national campaign delivered by the Archives and Records Association which aims to showcase the best of archives and archive services to a wide range of existing and potential users.

The local campaign wants to make people in the county consider and start to really value the documents that they’ve stashed away, and look after them.

During the week, various events and activities will take place at Aberystwyth Bandstand. The Bandstand will be open from 10am until 5pm Monday until Friday. Events and activities during the week are free for all, and some can be seen below.

· Displays of beautiful and interesting things from the Ceredigion Archives collections.

· A display of some special collections curated by Aberystwyth University Postgraduates studying Archive Administration.

· A chance to get your own free archive box for your family’s document treasures.

· A ‘Victorian’ photo-booth – dress up in the clothes (kindly loaned by Ceredigion Museum) and strike a suitable pose in front of our specially painted backdrop.

· Badge-making for all ages.

· Comfy corner: relax and watch a slide show of images from our collections, share your recollections with us.

· Browse a selection of Ceredigion Archives books, greetings cards and preservation items for sale at modest prices.

· Refreshments.

There are also lectures, workshops for adults and children and an evening with local ballad singer Owen Shiers. All events are free but so you’ll need to book for the workshops and Owen Shiers’ performance on Thursday night as numbers are limited.

Visit http://bit.ly/ArchifdyCeredigionArchives to book your place on workshops or Owen Shiers’ performance, or you can call Ceredigion Archives on 01970 633697 between 10-5 on Monday until Friday. Also, on the website you can see a full list of day to day activities and events taking place during the week.

If you need further information, call Ceredigion Archives on 01970 633697.

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Three New Quay RNLI crew members pass out as lifeboat mechanics

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THREE volunteer crew members have recently qualified as volunteer all-weather lifeboat mechanics at New Quay Lifeboat Station.

After a long training programme, which included courses at the RNLI College in Poole and extensive training on station, Pete Yates and Huw Williams were put through their paces by Peter McColl, RNLI Senior Assessor Trainer, Plant and Machinery, in their final pass out assessment 31 October.

After demanding assessments, where they had to deal with a variety of emergency situations at sea, Pete and Huw demonstrated the required level of competence to become lifeboat mechanics.

Pete said: ‘It was a very intense assessment, having to constantly think on your feet and remember your training.’

On 20 November, RNLI Assessor Trainer Simon Bunting visited the station and made it a hat trick of mechanic pass outs as crew member Dylan Price successfully completed a series of assessments, both onshore and afloat.

Huw added: ‘Pete, Dylan and I would like to thank the crew who gave up their time to launch the boat for our assessments and also thank our mechanics who have helped so much with training. We couldn’t have done it without their support.’

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘As part of our ongoing succession planning, Pete, Huw and Dylan have trained hard over the past year and I’d like to thank them for their time and effort. It is essential that we have a mechanic available at all times and this gives us much more flexibility to cover weekends and holidays for our full time station mechanic.’

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