NOSTALGIA: German pilot who shot Dunkirk troops,Â killed with spanner
Regular correspondent Mike Nolan was born and raised around Broad Street, Old Portsmouth. He fondly recalls how close-knit that community wasÂ and how he grew up with a girl he later married. No doubt other old families from Broad Street and Point will know of Mike.
In the picture, above,Â look to the left of the Somerset Hotel and you'll see a house with with big bay windows.
That was number 94 Broad Street where all his family lived in the 1930s, plus Mike's wife-to-be Tina's dad andÂ his first wife who died in 1940. Exactly opposite the Somerset was number 57 where Mike was born in January 1943.Â
The Somerset and the Star andÂ Garter Hotel were both bombed in the Second World War and 94 andÂ 96 both damaged. This meant the family had to move out.
Mike's grandmotherÂ and step-grandad moved to number 53 and his parentsÂ to River Street, Southsea.
Mike's dad was awayÂ in the army and his motherÂ did not like it there so she returned to 57Â Broad StreetÂ a month later. Â
Mike's grandmother and Tina's grandfather, both widowed, were later married and Tina visited themÂ often. That'sÂ how he knew Tina from when she was a baby '“ they grew up together. Mike was fourÂ when Tina was born. She used to visit her grandfatherÂ at 53 Broad Street so their lives were entwined from then on.
Mike saysÂ Tina went out of his life for four years. HeÂ met her again through her uncle and it was if they had never been apart. He made sure he never lost her again.
On their wedding day MIke was aged 20 and Tina 16. People said it would never last but they were together for 55 years. Tina died in 2015.Â
Mike told me about Tina's father Fred who was an acting master of a tugÂ plus a wherryman, a fisherman and top class seaman, a real PointÂ man.
When Fred was in the army he was at Dunkirk picking up soldiers in a tug. An open motor boat was bringing out soldiers from the beaches and they saw the pilot who had been machine-gunning troops in the water. He had been shot down.
The boat altered course to pick up the GermanÂ pilot but before anyone could grabÂ him someone picked upÂ a big spanner and beat him over the head killing him.The person who did it just said:Â '˜He wasn't a very good swimmer was he?' That act stayed with Fred for the rest of his life.Â
'¢Â In the final pictureÂ we see the aircraft that made the first flight across the Solent from Portsmouth Airfield. Aircraft fansÂ who might know more and can explain the word '˜covers' in this context, please let me know.