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.
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.
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.
The Little Mill Players present Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood by Ben Crocker
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is this year’s Little Mill Players Pantomime. Performances will be at Theatr Felinfach from Thursday 30 January to Saturday 01 February at 7:30pm. There will also be a matinée performance on Saturday 01 February at 2:30pm.
Robin Hood may be the best archer in the land, but can he escape the clutches of the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and save the Babes? Come along and join Winnie Widebottom, Marion, Little Joan, Friar Tuck and the Outlaws (and also, surprisingly, the Smugglers Cove WI who have come to Sherwood Forest on a camping holiday and get caught up in the adventure). Boo, hiss and cheer to help make sure the Sheriff gets his just deserts. Expect much fun, laughter and song in this family friendly production.
The Little Mill Players have existed as long as Theatr Felinfach has been in existence, since 1972. Members of the company come from various parts of Ceredigion and even Carmarthenshire. The age range of the cast varies from 7 to 60+ and their jobs vary from manual to managerial as well as school pupils and students. This year they are again thrilled to have several new faces and hope this trend will continue.
The show’s director, Stephen Entwistle, has been a member of the group for over 16 years. He began life with the group as the Musical Director, then progressed onto the stage and is now the ‘boss’!
One of the longest serving members of the current cast is Dilys Megicks, the show’s production assistant, who has been a member for some 24 years. During that time she has portrayed a wide array of characters including a baddy, a chicken and is currently Chair of the Smuggler’s Cove WI! She enjoys all aspects of the traditional pantomime.
Another, now established, member of the cast is Andrew Tyrrell who, over the years, has truly made the role of panto ‘Dame’ his own. He most certainly is the comedian of the cast. Andrew also takes charge of prop building and supplies.
Remember to follow Theatr Felinfach’s Facebook page for opportunities to win tickets to the production. Tickets are available from Theatr Felinfach’s Box Office on 01570 470697 or online at theatrfelinfach.cymru. Ticket prices are £9 for adults, £8 for Senior Citizens and £6 for children.
NHS volunteers needed
Volunteering for the NHS can be incredibly rewarding and Hywel Dda UHB are looking for new people to join their Volunteering for Health service in Ceredigion.
There are many reasons why you may consider volunteering with Hywel Dda UHB. It is a great way to experience what it is like in a hospital environment if you are thinking about a career in health. It can also help you to give something back if you’ve been a patient yourself or had a relative in hospital.
There are many different volunteer roles available such as patient befrienders on our wards and welcome volunteers at hospital receptions, and we are particularly looking for people who would be able to help with the shop trolley and help as patient befrienders on our wards at Bronglais Hospital.
Volunteer information sessions will be held in February and anyone who may be interested in becoming a volunteer can find out more by contacting the Volunteering for Health team on 01267 244401 or HDd.VolunteerForHealth@wales.nhs.uk.
David Fretwell, Volunteer Manager at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “One of the greatest benefits volunteers can bring to the NHS is the support and comfort you bring to our patients. We particularly want to establish a shop trolley at Bronglais Hospital but we encourage anyone local to Ceredigion who wants to volunteer for their NHS to get in touch.”
To find out more about Hywel Dda UHB’s Volunteering for Health Service please visit www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/volunteering
Elin Jones backs calls for Epilepsy Nurse working in Ceredigion
ELIN JONES has joined people living with epilepsy and those who support them to discuss issues relating to the healthcare and wellbeing of epilepsy sufferers in the Aberystwyth area, and has reiterated their call for a specific Epilepsy Nurse in the local Health Board.
Epilepsy Aberystwyth District Support Group meets on the second Saturday of each month, in Tesco’s Community Space in Aberystwyth from 11.00am until 1.00pm.
Following the meeting, Elin Jones said:
“It is important that epilepsy sufferers have appropriate local healthcare support.
“Many epilepsy sufferers are prohibited from driving, and therefore face additional barriers to accessing health and social support.
“There is currently no specialist epilepsy nurse in the Hywel Dda Health Board and I will be raising with the need to appoint such a necessary role with the Chief Executive.
“Meetings such as this with local action groups provide me with valuable insight into the variety of challenges faced by people with specific conditions in Ceredigion and it allows me to represent them more effectively with relevant authorities.”
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