The glider that came down in Runwell, June 1944.

Whilst talking to Stuart Hawes re. his and Vic’s comments about my article on Church End Farm, he said Vic had spoken about the glider that came down on Mallinson’s farm in June 1944.  There had been many gliders towed across the sky but no one knew why until much later when details of the D-Day landings came through.

Stuart and Vic ran across the fields to the glider and were the first on the scene.  The glider was on the ground with its nose section open. A small jeep with its gun was driven out.  The men didn’t speak to the lads but Stuart did tell them the quickest way to the main road and off they went – still no words were spoken.  Stuart remembers a pile of ham sandwiches in the cockpit and he really fancied one.  The airmen were in American uniform and probably came from Wethersfield airbase.

The next person on the scene was Mr Shipley from Jersey Gardens, he was one of the Special Constables and had a bicycle shop where he let people leave their bikes for a small fee whilst they went up to the station to catch the train.  Stuart said the effort of getting there had nearly killed him.

Several people from Waverley Crescent and Brock Hill had been watching the gliders when one broke away. They made their way up the small green lane opposite Mrs Frewin’s shop (next door to Warren’s Garage) to where it had come down in Mallinson’s field.  People kept coming to have a look.  My husband, Henry, took several schoolfriends across the fields to see the glider before it was taken away.

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  • Trevor Williams emailed an update:
    “Horsa Glider, serial no. RN493. This glider slipped its tow on the 24th March 1945. It landed 150 yds east of Hillside, Brock Hill, MR187147 Runwell. A Jeep and a 6 Pounder anti-tank gun were unloaded from it with a crew of five.
    This glider, looking at the date, was involved in “Operation Varsity“, the British Crossing of the Rhine by Airborne forces.”

    By Bob Plimmer (12/04/2020)
  • I saw the sky full of planes and gliders, and one crash landed.

    By bobcroot (11/09/2017)
  • This article is interesting as the incident was not recorded in the Billericay War Diary. However it does record a glider crash on the 24th of March 1945. The details recorded are “In a field 150yds E Hillside Brock Hill Runwell MR187147. 1 Glider No RN 493. crew of 5 uninjured Wardens & NFS on the spot”. There is no further information traceable.

    I would appreciate it if anyone can recall this or shed some light on the crash.

    By Eric Lamb (12/06/2015)
  • I too remember that day, the whole sky from north to south and east to west was covered in planes towing gliders.

    What a sight. I will never forget. The planes seemed very low as they only took off from airfields in Essex and Suffolk. We were going shopping and stood amazed when this glider seemed to break free and settle on two fields off Brock Hill, opposite the old garage, two hundred yards from home.

    Mum took my sister and me to see but there was only a muddy track and a policeman guarding it.

    By Bob Croot (20/10/2014)
  • I recall, just about, the glider which came down in the fields belonging to Flemmings farm.  We lived at Poplars farm at that time, and were taken down our fields to see the glider.  My sister, Magaret, could not understand how they could have a Jeep attached to a field gun inside it, along with so many men.  I can recall that when it came down it cut through a hedge just as cleanly as if it had been cut by a modern day machine. The glider was of course on its way to Arnhem.

    By dennis smith (03/02/2014)

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