Site of German plane crash, near Abergwyngregyn

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Site of German plane crash, near Abergwyngregyn

On Easter Monday 1941 a German bomber crashed into Llwytmor, injuring three crew members and killing one airman. One survivor was later hanged for murdering a fellow prisoner of war.

Llwytmor is the mountain you can see to the south-south-east from the car park in Cwm Anafon. The Heinkel 111, based at Nantes in France, crashed there after taking part in a bombing raid intended to destroy the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious at Barrow in Furness shipyard, where a reconnaissance mission the previous night had located the ship. The bombers were fully loaded with armour-piercing bombs and fuel for the 1,200-mile round trip. When they arrived over Barrow, the crews couldn’t see the ship and were met with a hail of bullets from anti-aircraft guns.

The Llwytmor crash killed engineer Josef Bruninghausen. The three other crew members were thrown clear in the impact and stayed on the mountainside until dawn, when they decided that one should descend the mountain to find help.

At ‘The Rest’, a cottage near Abergwyngregyn, Marion Baxter was preparing breakfast when there was a knock at the door. Wireless operator Kurt Schlender held his hands above his head and tried to tell her, in broken English, that his plane had crashed. While Mr Baxter guarded the airman, his wife drove to the village and summoned help from police and the local Home Guard.

Kurt Schlender was instructed to take the authorities to the crash site. The engineer’s body was placed on a stretcher and carried off the mountain.

After hospital treatment, all three survivors were housed at prisoner of war camps near Oldham and later in Canada. While in Canada, Bruno Peronowski, the observer on the German bomber, became depressed after learning of the deaths of his wife and daughter when the Russian army occupied their East Prussian home town. In 1946 he was convicted of murdering a fellow German prisoner whom he believed was a Communist with Russian sympathies. He and two other internees were hanged for the crime.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, Llandudno

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