Sidmouth’s former bomber gives Luftwaffe talk

Aircrew Association enjoys Sidmouth Fred’s talk using rare photographs

THE almost farcical ineptitude of the Italian Airforce during World War Two was one of the subjects in a fascinating presentation by an East Devon airman entitled ‘Hitler’s Allies of the Luftwaffe.’

Rare photos formed the basis of the talk to an audience of the Aircrew Association, East Devon Branch, by former Lancaster bomber gunner and navigator Fred Danckwardt from Sidmouth.

Fred began the talk with an account of the incompetent Italian Airforce who was charged with bombing the British base at Gibraltar – but ended up bombing a Spanish town by accident, which probably didn’t put the Italy-friendly ruler of Spain, General Franco, into a very good mood.

A later decision to attack Britain by sending 170 planes to Belgium was equally ineffective – twenty of the ancient bi-planes failed to even each Belgium, with only one making it to Britain and that crashed of its own accord nose-first into a cow field.

Fred said: “At this point the Italians just gave up and went home!”

The main focus of the talk was the Eastern Front and discussed variously was the Finnish, Estonian, Slovakian and Hungarian Airforces.