In September 1940, a German Junkers 88 bomber was forced to crash land on Graveney Marsh, near Whitstable in Kent. The crew prepared to blow up the plane to stop it from falling into British hands, but they were interrupted by the arrival of some members of the Royal Irish Rifles who were billeted in the nearby Sportsman pub. The British soldiers were merely expecting to bring in some prisoners, so they were somewhat surprised when the Germans opened up on them with the plane’s machine guns. The British hit the dirt and returned fire with their rifles, and eventually the Germans threw in the towel. They were taken back to the Sportsman, where they were given a quick drink before being sent off as prisoners of war. One of the London Irish’s Officers, Captain John Cantopher, was awarded the George Cross after he saved the plane for RAF engineers to examine by removing an explosive charge the Germans had left under its wing.
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