The Town Council were pleased to support this event at Crown Meadow on 23 October. Below is the recount as written by local Historian Bob Collis. A fitting story as we enter look to Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day to commemorate the town’s effort in both World Wars and pay respects to the fallen.
There have been some pretty colourful and unusual "away teams" visiting the hallowed turf of the Crown Meadow football ground in Lowestoft over the years. However, probably the strangest sight to invade the pitch was a German bomber exhibited there 80 years ago.
The day Lowestoft Town Football Club had a German Dornier 17 bomber exhibited on the centre spot was recalled at a special event on Friday 23 October.
The event was suggested by aviation historian Bob Collis, who has spent decades researching the wartime history of the area and has a photograph showing the bomber standing on the pitch being inspected by local people.
The aircraft, a Dornier Do 17Z from the Luftwaffe unit 8/KG.76, was shot down by Spitfires over Kent on 15 September 1940, a date which used to be celebrated as Battle of Britain Day. The bullet riddled bomber crash landed at Castle Farm, Shoreham with three of the crew wounded, one fatally.
The Dornier was one of a number of shot down German aircraft taken on tour by the British authorities to boost morale, raise funds for the war effort and give people a chance to look at Hermann Goering's much-vaunted Luftwaffe at close quarters. For 6d (sixpence) towards the "Spitfire fund" local people were allowed entrance to the Crown Meadow and a close inspection of the raider. A set of steps were placed next to the aircraft and people were able to peer inside the cockpit. Several who recall visiting the unusual exhibition remember being quite horrified to see dried blood stains still extant on the gunner's seat inside.
The aircraft arrived in sections on two RAF "Queen Mary" low-loaders on 23 October 1940, during the closing weeks of the Battle of Britain and was reassembled using a small crane.
Mr Collis also read a message from Dave Brocklehurst, MBE, the Chairman of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust at Hawkinge. In it Mr Brocklehurst reminded everyone that there was only one surviving Battle of Britain fighter pilot still living, Group Captain John "Paddy" Hemingway, now 101 years old. Mr Brocklehurst said "I am sure that "Paddy" would have approved, knowing that the good people of Lowestoft are holding their own commemoration today, but more importantly, remembering."
"I am very grateful to Councillor Alan Green, Mayor of Lowestoft, and the Directors of the club for allowing us to mark the event in this way. History and heritage events of this kind are very valuable to local communities and it is profoundly important we keep our unique local heritage in the public eye" added Mr Collis.