University of Oxford
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A Piece of My Uncle's Plane

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 17:28 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

The main object I brought is part of the airplane my uncle Eric was flying when he was shot down by the Germans. It was given to me in Luxembourg by a farmer who had retrieved it from the crash site in 1942. It was a bomber aircraft, and my uncle was the wireless operator. It set off from Lissett airport [see leaflet] on a bombing mission and was shot down over Luxembourg near this farm near La Rochette. Farmers who lived there at the time rescued my uncle and another man (both Sergeants) after the crash - they had bailed out before the plane hit the ground. The farmers hid the two men in a spare, hidden room, so the Germans wouldn't find them if they entered the house. They were kept hidden there for some time, then helped to escape through France to Spain and then back to England.

I was born on a farm. I was fortunate; we had milk and eggs and vegetables. My father worked on the railway, so he was in a reserved occupation and stayed home. Everyone had to face life very differently.

One day, my father was working in Oldham and on duty during a blackout. He fell off the walkway over the railway line and was temporarily blinded by the accident. He went to a railwaymen's convalescent home. He got his full sight back in the end but always said to us that you must look after your sight. He didn't really talk much about the war later, nor did anyone else really that I knew who were adults then. Only that they were grateful to come through it. I strongly feel that we did so well because of where we lived; it was different for those in cities.


Item list and details

1. Possibly part of an engine, but a piece of a Halifax Bomber aircraft - piece retrieved in La Rochette 2. Photo of Sgt. Eric Wood Brearley, wireless operator 3. Sgt. Brearley's account of his escape from the farm near Luxembourg 4. Copy of Dec. 1984 "Intercom". Also dedications, standards and memorials

Person the story/items relate to

Eric Brearley

Person who shared the story/items


Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Todmorden Library, West Yorkshire on 24 November 2023.

Record ID

101840 | TOD004