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Who Knows? - By Septaugenarian - November 2002
+ 3 Responses

During World War 2, I attended schools at Church Warsop, Edwinstowe and finally Burns Lane, Warsop. Fortunately, our area was almost untouched as regards war damage and casualties, but there were many episodes that present day senior citizens may still recall.

One summer afternoon I was near the Carrs Bridge, watching gliders being towed by Dakota aircraft. They were coming from the Mansfield direction, going over Cuckney Hill.
One glider came loose from its Dakota and made a tight turn to the right. As I remember this happened before the glider reached the Church. The glider was quickly losing height and it seemed to go down between Sandy Lane and Sherwood Street.

As I ran up Sandy Lane I could see the towrope trailing from the Dakota as it was circling round. The crew of the Dakota was obviously watching to report the location of the downed glider. The circling Dakota led me to realize that the glider must be between Oakfield Lane and Mansfield Road.

From Top Sandy Lane I made my way over Sherwood Street and up Oakfield Lane (We called it Gravel Lane). After the sand quarry I saw two hedgerows damaged and signs of a skid trail in the fields. I finally came across the glider in the first field on the Mansfield side of Spion Kop. It had come to rest less than 50 yards from the Mansfield road and very close to the last house.

I saw just two servicemen and I believed them to be American. No one was seen to be hurt and the glider did not look damaged. Within a few minutes the police cleared all onlookers from the field. Perhaps the glider had been released prematurely or else the mechanism was faulty. Certainly this sort of thing did not often happen.

What was the date please? - Septuagenarian

---You can respond to this by e.mailing Warsop Web carol.hill@btinternet.com ---

A reply to WHO KNOWS - December 2002
I remember the American glider landing at Spion Kop during the War. I had been watching the flight of aeroplanes towing gliders whilst playing with my brother on the ‘Backs’ of the ‘long row’ at Spion Kop. One of the gliders became loose and turned to the right over Warsop. Still turning it glided towards Spion Kop, getting lower all the time.

I ran along the road towards Mansfield and saw the glider had landed in our ‘sledging hill’, the field between the village and the farmer’s cottage (as it was then). I climbed into the field and ran towards the glider. All at once, with a mighty roar, the ‘mother’ plane flew towards me. It was looking if all was safe with the glider but because it was flying so low I thought it was going to land as well. I raced back to the fence as fast as my legs could carry me. I was a nipper then. Was it 1943? - Barry Poxon

---You can respond to this by e.mailing Warsop Web carol.hill@btinternet.com ---

A reply to WHO KNOWS - January 2003
The gliders were towed by DC 3 Douglas Dakota twin engined aircraft, the workhorse of pre-war American civil aviation, and of the US Army Airforce. Dakotas are still in service in many parts of the world today.
Gliders were expendable 'one-off' vehicles used in airborne operations to transport maximum amount of troops and/or supplies to the drop zone. The DC 3s would also carry paratroops. It is unlikely that the Americans would launch a large scale exercise with such equipment during a crucial stage of the war. In 1943 the allied armies were still engaged in the Italian campaign.

For this reason I believe the incident was operational; and therefore post 'D' Day, 6th June 1944. The first correspondent saw only two servicemen which indicates that the glider was carrying supplies. The direction of flight, E by NE points to Holland and Operation Market Garden; the 'Bridge too far' op designed to secure bridges over the Rhine for a lightning thrust into the heart of Germany. This op failed spectacularly and heroically at Arnhem, Nijmegen, etc. Market Garden was British controlled, [Field-Marshall Montgomery] and comprised of 1st British Airborne Div and Free Polish Airborne Brigade; plus American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divs.

It was September 1944, and September was still Summertime when I was a boy. If prior to this, it would
most probably be support for Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, but still 'D' Day plus. Before that there were no large scale airborne ops into Europe. If it were earlier still, it would be a waste of equipment and a risk of casualties on a fruitless exercise. Incidentally, I recognised the style of 'Septuagenarian', the initiator of this 'who knows'. I dare say I know him as well as if he were my own brother. - Thomas M Barlow.

---You can respond to this by e.mailing Warsop Web carol.hill@btinternet.com ---

A reply to WHO KNOWS - February 2003

In respect to the letter about the glider which landed in Spion Kop. My family lived in the houses next to the field where it landed. It was full of American Airborne Troops. My nephew walked over the field with the pilot looking for the rear wheel which had come off during the landing.

One of the first people on the scene was Mrs Frances (Fanny) Hemstock, who came from her cottage with jugs of tea for the soldiers. Incidentally the event took place on 6th June 1944. It was part of the D.Day Invasion. - Peter Jones, Formerly of 65 Mansfield Rd, Spion Kop

---You can respond to this by e.mailing Warsop Web carol.hill@btinternet.com ---

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