German war book recalls air attacks

A NEW book detailing the grim recordings of German POW conversations makes mention of an air strike near Eastbourne.

Soldaten – On Fighting, Killing and Dying, by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer is out on Thursday, September 27.

It details secretly recorded conversations between German POWs in British camps during World War II.

The recordings were discovered by historian Sonke Neitzel and they make uncomfortable reading, as German gunmen describe mass killings, rape and other atrocities as ‘great fun’.

The forthcoming book was featured in the Sunday Times Magazine last weekend and one of the first extracts used within the article mentioned an air strikes near Eastbourne.

The following quote relates to Germany’s air campaign against Britain from 1940 to 1944.

It said, “V Greim: We once made a low-level attack near Eastbourne.

“When we got there, we saw a large mansion where they seemed to be having a ball or something. There were lots of women in fancy dress, and an orchestra.

“We turned round and flew past, and then we approached again and machine-gunned them. It was great fun!”

Thomas Cranmer, an Eastbourne resident who served with the RAF during World War II, said the Sunday Times Magazine article made particularly grim reading.

But added, “I think it is good that things like this are still being published because as the years go by those things tend to get left behind.

“While no good can come from war, at the same time I think the present generation should be reminded of it.”

Thomas Cranmer said he did not know which of the air attacks was being referred to in the book but said he was not surprised because he was well aware Eastbourne and the surrounding area had been hit during the war.