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.
A reminder to residents and visitors as the number of Delta cases increase
CEREDIGION is starting to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ceredigion and across Wales over recent days. The Delta variant has been detected in Ceredigion; a different variant which causes a wider range symptoms than previously, the Council has said.
We are becoming increasingly concerned about this increase; the current rate per 100 thousand of the population is 33 and this is likely to increase further over the coming days. This is a significant rise, considering at the beginning of June the rate per 100 thousand of the population was as low as 2.8 per 100 thousand.
The new variant of COVID-19 is in all parts of Wales. It spreads faster and we need to be more vigilant and ensure that we follow the most recent guidelines which are as follows:
· Only members of your extended household can enter your home.
· Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that are open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), and on public transport and in taxis.
· People should try and work from home if they can.
· People should maintain social distancing, including outdoors, and don’t mix with too many different groups of people.
· People should wash their hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene.
· People must self-isolate when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect or as soon as you develop symptoms
· Book a test if you experience any of the symptoms.
Symptoms of the Delta variant of coronavirus include a headache, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever. We are urging people who feel unwell with ANY of these symptoms to book a test, be extra cautious, social distance, and maintain good hand hygiene.
As everybody is making the most of a summer with more relaxed restrictions than at the start of the year, it’s still vital for everyone to remember we’re still battling this virus and trying to prevent the threat of a third wave. Limiting your contacts is essential for keeping the infection rate down and it’s how we will ultimately protect each and every one of us.
In Ceredigion, over 68% have received the first vaccine and over 44% have now received the second vaccine. A first dose of the vaccine is now available to everyone over 18. The second vaccine significantly improves your immunity, so it is important that you get your second dose to complete your course of vaccinations.
Getting both vaccine doses and following COVID-19 guidelines will protect us all against the new variant. Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB) are now running walk-in clinics for first and second dose vaccination from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June. More information on the HDdUHB website.
Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.
Youth Work Week – Support for young people from a flexible and devoted team
THIS YEAR Youth Work Week is from 23 to 30 June. It is an opportunity to celebrate the positive stories and successes from the last 12 months – highlighting the innovation, resilience and resourcefulness that the sector has shown during an exceptionally difficult year.
Ceredigion Youth Service have utilised their provision since the beginning of the pandemic to offer digital spaces and opportunities for young people to socialise, receive education and take part in online activities and workshops.
During Youth Work Week, the Youth Work Sector will be highlighting their success stories on social media and recognising the contribution that all those working in Youth Work Services have made to young people and communities. There will be opportunities for young people to take part in various activities, workshops and competitions to celebrate the week. This year, Youth Work Week is based around the theme ‘Expressive’ where each day of the week there is an opportunity to highlight achievements, say thank you, and increase understanding around youth work – covering youth work services in the broadest sense.
One of our young member’s said: “Through having the support of a Youth Worker during the pandemic it has meant I have had opportunities to receive a phone call or text whenever I want or need, I have been offered to go for a walk if needed and I was offered the oppportunity to go into school several days a week during lockdown. Being able to have these resources at my hands has meant that I have been able to cope emotionally during this lockdown, but also being able to stay on top of school work which also contributes to coping better emotionally”.
Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer – Porth Cymorth Cynnar said “I have seen first-hand the value and the impact youth work can have on young people’s lives here in Ceredigion. For many young people Youth Work is their lifeline. Youth Work provides young people with a safe space, a doorway to opportunities and prepares them for their future, but most important of all, Youth Work allows young people to be heard, to relax, to have fun, to learn, to socialise, to grow and to develop. Ceredigion Youth service strives to provide young people with experiences and skills, which will last a lifetime”.
For more information about the work of Ceredigion Youth Service, visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page @GICeredigionYS or visit their website at www.giceredigionys.co.uk.
Update for Multi-purpose Community Centres following First Minister announcement
TODAY, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that multi-purpose community centres including community centres, village halls, church halls and other community facilities can reopen from 03 May. This decision has been brought forward from 17 May.
Welsh Government announced changes during today’s briefing, and the guidance for multi-purpose community venues is being updated to ensure compliance with developments in regulations, including greater emphasis on ventilation. Welsh Government continue to advise authorities that the regulations on social gathering will still prevent a number of activities from taking place at community venues, and only organised activities for up to 15 people will be permitted.
The panel strongly advise you to make every effort to carry out your activity digitally or make contact by phone. If not, consider whether it is possible to hold your activity outdoors, in-line with Welsh Government guidance. Holding your activity indoors should be considered as a last resort. If this is the only option and it’s essential that you meet then please keep the session brief and involve as few people as possible, with all necessary procedures and protocols in place.
Those responsible for community activities should remember to;
- maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
- wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.
- regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided.
A multi-agency panel has been set up to advise and support around the safe and proportionate reopening of facilities in-line with national guidance. The panel has been created under Ceredigion’s Public Services Board Sub Group; Understanding our Communities. Leading on the development of the group is Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) and Ceredigion County Council in partnership with Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The panel includes representation from Health & Safety, Environmental Health and Community Safety.
The panel encourages anyone responsible for community facilities to seek advice to ensure that arrangements are safe and secure and that compliance is in-line with national guidance. Prior to re-opening any community facility those managing centres must ensure that they are ‘Covid-Free Zones’.
The panel will aim to host another briefing session on April 28 at 13:30 to support those in charge of community venues with the latest developments. If you would like to join the next briefing session, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cyfleusterau-cymunedol-ceredigion-community-facilities-information-session-tickets-152071456821?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch or get in touch via the contact details below.
The multi-agency panel will continue to support and advise Community Groups and Organisations, and questions or information requests can be submitted to the group which meets on a weekly basis via CAVO on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01570 423232.
Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.
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