Interview with Evelyn Paine


Interview with Evelyn Paine


Two of Evelyn Paine’s three brothers joined the RAF. She discusses the service of her brothers Philip Jenkinson and Peter Raeburn Jenkinson. Philip Jenkinson trained as an air gunner. He was was shot down on his tenth operation and after evading for nine days, became a prisoner of war. Peter Jenkinson trained as a flight engineer. He was killed on his 30th operation 28 / 29 January 1945 when the plane was shot down by a night fighter near Michelbach, Germany. Philip and Evelyn visited Germany in the 1980s to visit Peter’s grave and visit the memorial to his memory.




Temporal Coverage




00:50:13 audio recording


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CB: My name is Chris Brockbank and today is the 24th of August 2016. I’m in the house of Evelyn Paine who is the sister of the person we’re doing a proxy interview for — Philip Jenkinson. One of two brothers. And he joined the RAF in 1941 but what are your, Evelyn your earliest recollections of your brother and how did he come to join the RAF?
EP: Well, I’m not really sure.
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Well, where, where did the family live?
EP: [unclear] Farm in Falmouth.
CB: Where? In Falmouth. Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Right. So where did he go to school?
EP: At St Breward in North Cornwall because we lived there at the time.
CB: Right. And what did your parents do?
EP: Well, they’d both sort of retired. Mum. They didn’t do anything.
CB: Farming?
EP: No. No.
CB: No. They weren’t?
EP: No.
CB: Ok.
EP: Just retired.
CB: And so everybody went to school locally.
EP: Pardon?
CB: Everybody went to school locally.
EP: Yes. Yes.
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And what was that school? Was it a —
EP: A council school.
CB: Yeah.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Secondary school?
EP: No. I don’t think so.
CB: And what age did Philip leave school?
EP: At fourteen.
CB: And then what did he do?
EP: Farming. He went for poultry farming.
CB: And what was he doing as a poultry farmer?
EP: Well, I suppose picking up eggs and cleaning the chickens out and one thing like that I suppose.
CB: And how long did he do that for?
EP: Until ’41 when he went into the air force.
CB: Ok. But before that he’d volunteered hadn’t he?
EP: Yes.
CB: What did he do?
EP: Well, he joined the LDV.
CB: Yeah. What does that mean?
GP: Local Defence Volunteers.
EP: Yes.
GP: Home guard.
CB: What was it?
EP: [laughs] What was it?
GP: Local Defence Volunteers.
EP: Look.
CB: Local.
EP: Local.
GP: Defence volunteers.
CB: Local Defence Volunteers.
GP: Really the Home Guard.
CB: Yeah. Yeah.
GP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. And what did he do in being an LDV member?
EP: I’m not sure. He went off in the evenings to do something. Drills I suppose. Watched the bridges and things like that.
CB: Yeah. They were on guard duty.
EP: On guard duty. Yes.
CB: And did he discuss it regularly with you?
EP: No.
CB: Or did he keep it all very quiet.
EP: Yeah. Keep it very —
CB: Yeah. So the war started and he was still on the chicken farm.
EP: Yes.
CB: So at what age did he volunteer to join the RAF?
EP: In ’41. What age you could be. Twenty three.
CB: Eighteen.
EP: Eighteen. Something like that.
CB: So, what prompted him to do that?
EP: Well, because he was, because he was sent from the farm to volunteer. The three of them.
CB: Ah three. Who were they?
EP: Well, blokes that were working the farm.
CB: Other farm workers.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. So what did they do? The three of them.
EP: I don’t know.
CB: And how, how did they decide? You said just now.
EP: I think that —
CB: How did they decide what to do?
EP: I think they, whoever they went to see I suppose.
CB: So there were three of them.
EP: The recruiting officers.
CB: And who decided which of the forces to go in?
EP: I think the person who interviewed them. I suppose.
CB: So what happened? One went in the — you said earlier.
EP: Yes. One in the navy, one in the army and one air force. And Philip was the air force.
CB: Right. So then what did he do?
EP: I don’t really know. He —
CB: They sent him —
EP: Then he went to Reading. I don’t know whether — did he go up to Lloyds?
CB: Went to Lord’s.
EP: Lords.
CB: Because —
GP: Lord’s Cricket Ground.
CB: That was the Lords Reception Centre.
EP: Yes. And I don’t really know what he did after that.
CB: Ok.
[recording paused]
EP: Now, the thing is one of the ships going to Canada was cut in half with the Queen Mary wasn’t it? Somehow.
GP: That’s right.
CB: Ok. So we’ll come to that in a mo. So, after he joined at Lords Cricket Ground where did he go?
EP: He went to Newquay.
CB: Ok. Which was an Initial Training Wing.
EP: Yes.
CB: And how long was he there?
EP: About three months I think.
CB: And that’s on — down in Cornwall.
EP: Yes. Down in Cornwall. Yes.
CB: And then he was sent where?
EP: To Canada I think.
CB: Right. And how did that happen? How did he go?
EP: By boat. That one.
CB: Which one?
EP: What’s the name.
CB: The Cavina.
EP: Cavina.
CB: So what happened there? There was something about the boats. What happened?
EP: When it was in Liverpool —
CB: Right.
EP: The boat he was going over on was cut in half with the Queen Mary because she ran into it.
CB: Oh. But he wasn’t, he wasn’t on that.
EP: No. No.
GP: Very careless.
CB: Very careless. Yeah. And so what did they have to do?
EP: They waited for another boat. But for how long I don’t know.
CB: No. And when they went to Canada then they went where? In to —
EP: Winnipeg.
CB: Ok. And what happened at Winnipeg?
EP: I suppose he just did his training I suppose.
CB: Ok. So we’re, what was he training to do?
EP: Air gunner.
CB: And so that was a mixture of ground work and air to air.
EP: Suppose so.
CB: And training to be an air gunner what, what did they do there?
EP: [laughs] Fire.
CB: Ok. So how did the training go for air gunnery? What did they do?
EP: I suppose flying and shooting.
CB: Doing what?
EP: Flying and shooting.
CB: Yeah. But on the ground first what did they do?
GP: On the range.
CB: So they did, they did clay pigeon shooting.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Rifle shooting.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And the flying. What was that? What type of shooting did they do there?
EP: Don’t know.
CB: Against a target towed by another plane.
GP: Yeah.
CB: And when he came back from Canada where did he return to?
EP: I’m not sure.
CB: Liverpool?
EP: No. Oh, he went to — yes. He came back to Liverpool.
CB: Yeah. And then —
EP: Then I don’t know where he went from.
CB: Then he, then he went to a squadron.
EP: Yes.
CB: Right.
EP: That would be Melbourne.
CB: At Melbourne. Where’s that?
GP: 10 Squadron.
EP: Yorkshire.
CB: Right. And the squadron number?
GP: 10.
EP: 10.
CB: What were they flying?
EP: Halifaxes.
CB: And where was his position in the aircraft?
EP: Top. Yes.
GP: Mid-upper. Mid-upper.
EP: Mid-upper gunner.
CB: Ok. And so he then went on to operations.
EP: Yes. He did.
CB: And we’re now in 1943.
EP: And he did ten.
CB: Did he?
EP: And then he was shot down.
CB: Yeah. How? How did they come to be shot down?
EP: By, by another plane. By a — what was it? What was the plane that shot down?
GP: Oh —
CB: It was in the night was it?
EP: Yes. Night time.
GP: Yes.
CB: Ok. And —
GP: I’m not sure.
CB: Did they all get out or —
EP: No. Two were killed.
CB: Ok. Who were the ones killed?
EP: The bomb aimer. Not the bomb aimer. The rear gunner and the pilot.
CB: Ok. Do we know why that was?
EP: No.
CB: So —
GP: Sitting in the wrong seat.
CB: Yeah. So the, if the attacking aircraft had approached from behind it’s more likely that that’s how the rear gunner died.
EP: Yeah.
CB: But what about the pilot? What do you know about why he didn’t survive?
EP: Whether he stayed with the aircraft and he crashed I don’t know. I don’t really know.
CB: Ok.
GP: Yes. He may have stayed with it ‘til he was sure they were all out and then it was too late.
CB: Ok. So that’s —
GP: That was the usual pattern.
CB: That was the usual pattern.
EP: And Philip was loose for nine days before he was caught.
CB: Was he?
EP: Yeah.
CB: What was he doing for nine days?
EP: Well, he was hiding during the day and then walked around in the night time.
CB: Where to?
EP: He was hoping to get to Switzerland.
CB: So where was he shot down?
EP: At [pause] oh dear.
CB: Well, let’s start earlier. The raid was on which town? Who were they, where were they bombing?
EP: Munich.
CB: Munich. Right. Ok.
GP: Munich. Yeah.
CB: So this is on the way back is it or on the way there?
EP: It must have been on the way there because they’d jettisoned the bombs and one bomb went into a little church.
CB: Did it?
EP: And destroyed it. Yeah.
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Right. So he got out of the plane.
EP: Yes. With a parachute. But he doesn’t remember jumping.
CB: And he landed ok.
EP: Yes.
CB: So how did he know where he was going to go?
EP: He didn’t. Just hoped for the best.
CB: Right. Ok.
GP: We’ve done it on the map haven’t we? He nearly got, he nearly got into Switzerland. Just this side of the border and got caught.
EP: He got caught in [pause]
GP: Walked around the corner and there they were.
EP: Where was he caught?
GP: I should know this. I can see it on the map but I can’t remember the name.
CB: So, in practical terms —
GP: Nearly made it.
CB: He’d almost arrived. He got caught. Why?
GP: He was, well he just happened, he came around the corner.
CB: Yeah.
GP: Expected, not expecting to see anybody. There was, I think two Germans there, ‘For you the war is over.’
EP: And his bomb aimer. Both of them were together.
CB: Just the two of them. Right.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Yeah.
EP: Ok.
EP: The other two were caught two days afterwards.
GP: He was only a very short distance from the border. Very short distance. Quarter of a mile.
EP: And Kevin, his navigator was caught straight away.
CB: Oh was he?
EP: By a policeman. Which I’ll tell you in a minute.
CB: Ok. So the aircraft itself landed where?
EP: At the farm we go to —
CB: Right. Which is?
EP: At Leeder.
GP: There’s a photo in there.
CB: What? What’s —
GP: Of the cell he was put in.
CB: What’s, what’s the town that’s nearest?
EP: Landsberg.
CB: Right. Landsberg. Landsberg’s the town. Ok. So let’s talk about, they’ve landed. Then what? He’s gone off on his own.
EP: He buried, he buried his parachute.
CB: Yeah.
EP: And then they started walking. And he thinks the first night they went around in a circle because the dogs started barking in the village and he had to sort of dodge. Dodge that.
CB: Yeah. Yeah. So then what?
EP: Then he started walking. Walked. He walked at night time. Hid at night err during the day.
CB: What sort of places did they hide in?
EP: Woods. Or where ever they could. And they did because the bomb aimer didn’t bring any rations so they shared their rations and then they sort of ate, ate carrots. Whatever they could find. Carrots and turnips or anything. And of course they had water from the streams.
CB: So, what time of year is this?
EP: Hmmn?
CB: What time of year?
EP: What time what?
CB: What time of year is this?
EP: September.
CB: Right.
EP: September the 6th, 7th
CB: 1943.
EP: Yeah.
CB: So, when he got caught, the two of them got caught then what happened?
EP: They were sent to a prisoner of war camp. First of all they were put in a cell for the night. And then —
GP: We’ve got a photo of the cell haven’t we?
EP: Hmmn?
GP: We’ve got a photo of the cell he was put in. Yeah.
CB: Ok. We’ll look at the photo of the cell.
EP: Yes.
CB: Yeah. Ok. So then what? Put in a cell —
EP: He went to the prisoner of war camp.
CB: Where was that?
EP: In Poland wasn’t it?
GP: Pardon?
EP: Poland wasn’t it?
GP: Poland I think.
EP: Poland I think.
GP: Yes. It was. Yeah.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yeah.
CB: And what rank was he at that time?
EP: I don’t know. He came back as a warrant officer. So what —
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah. So —
GP: [unclear]
EP: Whether he was a warrant officer before he went I don’t know.
CB: Right. And what was it like in the prisoner of war camp for him?
EP: It wasn’t too bad at all. Yeah. They used to bribe the Germans with chocolates and things because first of all you know they gave them a piece of chocolate, ‘Will you please bring me a screw?’ Or something like that. And then they made a wireless with, because once the Germans did something they couldn’t report it so they bribed him.
GP: Crafty.
EP: Yeah. Yes. Philip said the sweets and chocolates were very useful from the Red Cross parcels.
CB: Which parcels did they come in?
EP: Hmmn?
CB: Which parcels did they arrive in?
EP: In the Red Cross parcels.
CB: Right.
EP: Yeah.
CB: How often did they get a Red Cross parcel?
EP: Not very often. No.
CB: No. Ok. So —
EP: Once every three months or even more. I don’t quite —
CB: Do you know what —
EP: They took a long time to get over there.
CB: Yeah. What sort of, what was in the parcels?
[recording paused]
CB: This is a contents statement for the British Red Cross Society parcels. And it says pyjamas, towels, face cloth, toothbrush, warm shoes, scarf, wool gloves, leather — looks interesting. So, he’s in the prisoner of war camp in Poland. How did they occupy themselves during that time?
EP: Doing embroidery and things. He did a lot of embroidery.
CB: What sort of things?
EP: Tea cosies and tapestries.
GP: Gloves?
EP: Yes.
CB: Ok.
EP: Knitting and all that sort of thing.
CB: Ok. So the —
EP: And when they moved they took, everything they’d already done they left behind, they took things that weren’t finished.
CB: You’re talking about the end when they — who, who liberated?
EP: When they moved they —
CB: Who liberated them?
GP: They were moved.
EP: Desert Rats.
GP: To another camp.
CB: Oh they went to another camp did they?
GP: Yeah.
EP: Yes. When they went to, I think he went to four different camps I think.
CB: Did he?
EP: Yeah.
CB: So he was there, because he was there for two years.
EP: Eighteen months.
CB: Eighteen months. Yeah.
EP: Yeah.
CB: So how did they get out of the last camp?
EP: The Desert Rats opened the gate and they all went out.
CB: Right.
EP: The Germans fled. They didn’t see them.
GP: I think they walked.
CB: So what happened? The, the gates were opened. Then what happened? How did he get back?
EP: They just walked out and they — didn’t it? For two days they didn’t do anything. Just stayed there. They had no food or anything. But what happened after that I don’t know.
CB: Right.
EP: Yeah.
GP: I think they walked west.
CB: So, how did he get back to England?
EP: He flew back to England.
CB: Where from?
EP: I don’t really know where from.
GP: Don’t know where from.
EP: Because he wanted to fly back.
CB: Did he?
EP: Yes. He wasn’t, he wasn’t coming back in a boat.
CB: Well, if you’re a flying man you wouldn’t want to would you?
GP: No.
CB: Right. So the RAF programme for that was called Operation Exodus. And many of the crews picked up POWs from airfields in Belgium and took them to the UK.
EP: I don’t know whether he went to Belgium. Don’t think he ever went to Belgium.
CB: Might not have got that far. So when he got back then what happened? What did he do?
EP: He spent a lot time in hospital.
CB: Why?
EP: Don’t know where.
CB: No. Why? Why did he have to go to hospital?
EP: Because he was so thin. Yeah. And he wasn’t all that well.
GP: He wasn’t very nourished. Wasn’t nourished very well.
EP: Undernourished and —
CB: What was the effect of being in the prison camp then?
GP: Losing weight mostly wasn’t it?
EP: Yeah. Losing weight wasn’t it? I don’t think they had much food. He said the bread was put, sawdust in the bread they said.
GP: Fill you up. Yeah.
CB: Ok. So he got back. Went into hospital. How long was he in hospital for?
EP: Oh. Quite a while. You know, now and then.
CB: How long is quite a while?
EP: Oh I don’t know. Three or four months I expect.
CB: Right. And then what did he do?
EP: Then he came home.
CB: Ok.
EP: He came home on leave.
CB: Then what?
EP: And then he went back. Don’t know where he went. To Melbourne would he?
GP: Pardon?
EP: Would he have gone back to his airport. Or where would he go?
GP: That’s when I met him wasn’t it? First. When he came back.
CB: So he went back to his airfield.
EP: I should think so.
GP: Yes. He did.
CB: Which was —
GP: He went —
CB: At Melbourne.
GP: He went back as a load master.
CB: Right.
GP: From 511. From 511 Squadron.
EP: I don’t know where he went then. That’s where you —
GP: Yes. Because I followed him there.
CB: You just happened to meet him there.
GP: I think I knew he was there but I was there and we were both there at one time. I was flying as second pilot and he was doing the freight. We were moving freight.
CB: To where?
GP: From Germany back here.
CB: Oh right.
EP: To, you went to India didn’t you?
GP: Pardon?
EP: India, didn’t you?
GP: Pardon?
EP: You went to India.
GP: I went to India. Went all over the place. Rhodesia, India.
CB: But he didn’t go there.
GP: No. I don’t think. No.
EP: No. I don’t think —
CB: So then he left the air force. When did he leave the air force?
EP: In ’48 I think. And then he went farming. Poultry farming.
CB: Right.
EP: At —
CB: Where he was before?
EP: No. At Swin —
GP: At AG Street’s place.
EP: Yes. Anthony. But where was that?
GP: You remember AG Street? The broadcaster. Farming. He went, he went —
EP: And then he left.
GP: He worked for him. Yeah.
CB: Ok. And he kept, he did that for the rest of his life did he? Or did he do something else?
EP: No. He went farming. I had a farm. And then he came and sort of took over.
CB: Right. So as far as the RAF is concerned then he’s his interest about the crash was rekindled for some reason.
EP: Yes.
CB: What was that?
EP: I don’t know.
CB: What prompted that?
EP: Well, it’s in, he said to me, ‘I’m going to Germany in ’83.’ And I said, ‘Why ever do you want to go to Germany in ’83?’ ‘Because,’ he says, ‘It’s forty years since I was shot down.’ So what he did, he rang up the Air Ministry and asked them where he crashed. And he said, well they didn’t really know but a bloke in Germany will tell you. And Philip wrote to him.
GP: Hans Grimminger.
EP: Hans Grimminger and I think Hans rang Philip up and said, ‘Oh yes. I know where your plane came down.’ And Philip said, ‘Well, I’m coming over in September.’ Same time. September 7th because, you know, the time he was shot down. And so he said, ‘Well, you’ve got to come and stay with me.’ So, we all stayed there and then evidently before we went over there he advertised in the paper, did anybody know about this plane? Which he got so I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you about it.
CB: Ok.
GP: I was speaking to Hans Grimminger this week on the phone.
EP: Wait a minute.
GP: Yeah.
CB: And now we’re looking, we’re looking at the cuttings specifically.
GP: Yeah.
CB: Related to that. Ok. So we’re in 1983.
GP: [unclear]
EP: Wait a minute I’ve got —
GP: Wonderful collection we have.
EP: There’s him in the cell. There’s that one.
CB: So what happened? So, he wrote. He wrote. And did he get responses? Or —
EP: Yes. Yes. Yes.
CB: What did he get?
EP: I don’t know what that photograph’s of.
CB: We’ll stop for a mo.
GP: He was put —
[recording paused]
CB: What — just going back a bit. What happened to the navigator?
EP: He was picked up straight away.
CB: What was his name?
EP: In the village. But he couldn’t do anything with his parachute because it was caught in the barbed wire. So he couldn’t do anything about his. And so evidently a policeman caught him. Rang up his party and said what, ‘I’ve got an airmen here. What do I do with him?’ So they said, ‘Well, if he’s an officer you don’t put him in a cell. You put him in one of your own beds.’ So Kevin was, there’s that’s the, that’s the policeman’s daughter, erm wife.
GP: Yeah.
EP: There’s the daughter who was turfed out of her bed so Kevin could go in. [unclear] so that’s that.
CB: So he went, he was put in that bed. Then what happened?
EP: And then he stayed there for the night and he was told to put his trousers outside the door so he wouldn’t run away. And then he was taken to a prisoner of war camp after that. The next day.
CB: And that was a different prisoner of war camp.
EP: Yes. Yes.
CB: From the others because he was the first to be captured.
EP: Yes. And Philip didn’t see him again until years afterwards.
CB: Right.
EP: Because in ’79 he had a car, a car accident. He came to see us on the way to a sale somewhere or other. He had a car accident and he went in to St Alban’s Hospital, and Geoff went to see him but he wasn’t allowed to see Philip because he was in uniform. They wouldn’t allow him because he’d gone back to the war. And so in the evening when Geoff went to see him he said, ‘Where am I?’ And so Geoff says, ‘In St Albans.’ ‘Oh St Albans. My navigator lives in St Albans. Kevin Murphy.’ So Geoff came here and looked in the telephone book and there was a Kevin Murphy there. So Geoff rang him up and he said, he said ‘Did you serve with Philip Jenkinson during the war?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Well he’s in your hospital.’ Kevin went down to see him and he realised he recognized him straight away, Kevin. And they nattered about the war, you know, the plane and one thing and another. I went in the same day. He still doesn’t recollect me going in there but yet he went back all that time.
GP: Yeah.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Extraordinary.
GP: Kevin Murphy. Nice chap.
EP: And there’s —
CB: Ok. We’ll stop there just for the mo.
[recording paused]
CB: It’s just, so back to the earlier comment about 1983. You were put in touch with the Germans.
EP: Yes.
CB: In the area of the crash.
EP: Yes.
CB: Ok. So how did that move on from there? They’ve got a memorial.
EP: Well, the memorial, we saw the memorial first. That’s nothing to do with Philip’s crash. That was the memorial they’ve got for Philip err for Peter.
CB: Oh ok. So that’s different.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. So Philip’s one. Ok. So what did they do?
EP: We went, we went to Philip’s crash.
CB: Point.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And what did you see there?
EP: Hmmn?
CB: What did you see there?
EP: We saw the way he crashed and all the photographs. Then we went down to the farm and got some more photographs. And then we had tea there and they were very, very nice. We made friends ever since.
CB: So who were these Germans?
EP: Well, these Germans on the farm. The plane crashed and the old girl she, she remembers the plane and she remembers her brother taking the photographs. So when they saw the advert they looked in the house and found them and gave them to Philip. To which was there —
CB: Fascinating. Yeah.
EP: There’s the farm. And, and Philip had to jettison the bombs and one of the bombs went in that church and destroyed that.
CB: Right. So when, what you’re talking about is the plane, when the plane was hit it hadn’t reached the target.
EP: No.
GP: Jettisoned the bombs.
CB: So they jettisoned the bombs.
EP: Yes. Yeah.
CB: And one of them hit the church.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Which has been rebuilt.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yes.
CB: Right.
EP: About seventy odd it was rebuilt.
CB: Right.
GP: They were very nice about it weren’t they [laughs]
CB: So what in fact was their interest in your coming?
EP: Just I think they were so pleased.
GP: Fascinated to meet somebody —
EP: A crew member.
CB: And so you travelled from England. Did you have somewhere to stay? Or were you looking around.
EP: No. We didn’t have anywhere to stay.
CB: So what happened?
EP: Well, they gave us, we went down to see the memorial. We came back to a sort of hotel which we didn’t know what it was. And they gave us a meal. And then we said we had to find somewhere to sleep. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘We have beds here for you.’ So we slept there for the night and then we were told, ‘You’ve got to come here 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.’ Which we were there ready at 9 o’clock and they took us up to their, up to their cemetery.
GP: It’s stuck. It’s stuck here. That’s it.
EP: Where’s — where’s —
CB: And what was in the cemetery?
EP: The stone that had all their names on.
CB: Now wait a minute. So just to recap. In practical terms we had five of the crew getting out.
EP: Yes.
CB: But the pilot and the rear gunner didn’t.
EP: No.
CB: So what’s the significance of this cemetery?
EP: I don’t know whether we’ve got it here or not. Or whether it’s in Peter’s [pause] So we went to their cemetery which they had this stone with all their names on. The pilot —
CB: The two.
EP: Then we went to their cemetery. You know the airmen, you know. The. We’ve done that one. —
GP: The War Graves.
EP: The War Graves. And the seven, Peter’s seven were there and Philip’s two were there. All in the same place.
CB: So, wait a minute. What’s the war graves then? [pause] I wonder how —
[recording paused]
GP: Different thing.
CB: We’ve got a bit of confusion here because of the two brothers. So we’re talking about Philip only.
GP: Yes.
CB: The ‘83 contacts were to do with Philip’s crash but there was no memorial on the site of the crash. Only viewing the site. Separately the two crew who died — the pilot and the rear gunner.
GP: Yeah.
CB: Are buried in a War Grave Commission —
GP: Yeah.
CB: Cemetery.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yes.
CB: Which we haven’t identified just at the moment.
GP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. Right. Ok.
EP: Went to —
CB: So after looking at the site. Then what did you do?
EP: Went back to Hans’ place.
CB: Yeah.
EP: Which was about thirty miles away.
CB: Ok.
EP: And then the next day —
CB: That’s where you stayed, was it?
EP: Yes. Stayed.
CB: With him.
EP: Yes.
CB: Ok. Now, the people who went are you and Geoff.
EP: And Philip and Jean.
CB: Philip and his wife, Jean.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yeah.
CB: So the four of you then went with Hans.
EP: Yes. Back to their place.
CB: Yeah. And then what did you do?
EP: The next day they took us to the cemetery.
EP: Right.
EP: At [pause] oh dear what’s it called?
GP: Aglasterhausen.
EP: Hmmn?
GP: Aglasterhausen.
EP: No. It’s not.
CB: But it’s the War Graves Commission cemetery.
EP: Yes.
GP: I’m trying to think of it.
CB: How long did it take to drive there?
EP: Oh, an hour or so I should think.
CB: Right. Ok.
EP: Quite a while.
CB: And after looking at that then what did you do?
EP: I think we came home.
CB: Ok. Right.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And reflected on —
EP: We drove, we drove over there.
CB: Yeah. And reflected on the experience.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Right.
EP: Yes.
CB: So, you’re with Philip and his wife. You’ve driven both ways. How did the conversation go after having being in the site and then as you came back? What do you remember about that? Because he’d be reminiscing was he?
EP: Yes [laughs]
GP: Yeah.
CB: So what did he talk about?
EP: It was the crash I think. When the plane came down and —
GP: Yes. In no uncertain terms.
CB: Had he? In what way?
GP: Oh gosh.
EP: He was ready to kill every German until, until we went out.
CB: Right.
EP: And they were so nice.
CB: Yeah.
EP: We couldn’t believe they were so nice.
CB: So he changed his tune.
EP: He changed his mind.
GP: Changed his mind.
CB: Ok.
GP: I was speaking to Hans Grimminger yesterday.
CB: Were you?
GP: On the phone. Yeah.
CB: So on the way back then he was reminiscing was he? About the experience.
EP: Yes. Yes.
EP: Yes. I think he was. Yes.
CB: Anything in particular?
EP: No. I don’t think so.
GP: He was very thrilled that he’d found somebody, Germans that knew what was going on and were very friendly to us. Yeah. I think he was a bit surprised I think.
CB: It tempered his enmity did it?
GP: Pardon?
CB: It tempered his enmity towards Germans.
CB: Yeah. Changed completely.
EP: He certainly did.
GP: He certainly did.
CB: Ok.
GP: [unclear]
CB: So Philip eventually died in 2011.
EP: Yes.
CB: What happened as a result of that?
EP: Well, he wanted his ashes to go to Germany. So we had to arrange, but because because he wanted to be by his crew. He wanted them to be buried by his crew. But they wouldn’t allow it because there was no relations. But as I had a relation there he could, they could be buried by Peter. So that’s what we did.
CB: So we’re coming on to Peter in a minute. Ok.
GP: So they just —
CB: You didn’t scatter them. You buried them.
EP: Hmmn?
CB: You didn’t scatter them.
EP: No. No. They buried them.
CB: You buried them.
EP: Yeah.
GP: We dug a little hole.
EP: Yes. By —
GP: In line with the graves. And put them in a little box.
CB: Right.
GP: Just in front of the graves.
CB: Ok.
GP: You’ve got a picture somewhere haven’t you?
CB: Right. Well, we’ll cover that later.
GP: Yes.
CB: Right. So after quizzing the Sherlock Holmes team we’re going to adjourn for the invitation of a cup of tea.
EP: Yes. Alright.
GP: Yeah.
[recording paused]
CB: We’re now on the second of our proxy interviews with Evelyn Paine and in this case we’re talking about Evelyn’s other brother whose name was Peter Jenkinson DFM. And he was older than Philip but there were reasons why he joined the RAF later. So, shall we start off please Evelyn with the earliest recollections you have.
EP: Well, I remember his always being ill.
CB: Had he?
EP: Yes.
CB: What was he suffering from?
EP: Well, he had pneumonia and pleurisy and flu and everything else. And one day from school he was sent home because he wasn’t very well and he collapsed. When mum opened the door he collapsed and he was put in to hospital. And then one night when she went there the matron called, she said, ‘I want to see you.’ So she’s saying that she didn’t think he was going to last the night. So when she went back to Peter he wanted to know what she wanted. What matron wanted. And so all mum could say was he wanted, she wanted some clean pyjamas, and she said, ‘I didn’t really know what to say.’ But he survived the night.
GP: Amazing.
CB: And then what?
EP: Well, then, then when he was seventeen or something like that he went up to Bristol Aircraft Company and he worked there for a while.
CB: Doing what?
EP: Making aircraft. Building aircraft. Making the aircraft.
CB: So where was this?
EP: At Bristol.
CB: Right.
EP: Bristol Filton. And then, then when the war broke out he wanted to join the RAF and he went to have a medical but they wouldn’t take him because he was unfit. So of course he went back to the aircraft factory and then he tried three more times and every time he was not fit.
CB: Unfit in what way?
EP: Well, because his illness when he was younger.
CB: Right.
GP: There’s a little bit here you want to say about he was unfit because he couldn’t —
[recording paused]
EP: He had illness when he was young.
CB: And, one of the tests was what?
EP: Blowing the mercury up because when he wanted to join the air force and he couldn’t do it and he tried three times and passed — he didn’t pass. And then he went down to Britannic to do something to a Beaufighter. And when he went to a dance and there he was given an envelope and in it was a white feather which made him see red. And he went back to Bristol and he got a football bladder and blew that up and blew that up until he thought he was fit to blow, so he went to another you know test. Medical.
CB: RAF one.
EP: And the doctors said, if you blow up the mercury.’ He said, I can’t pass you. ‘I have to pass you.’
GP: ‘I can’t fail you.’
EP: ‘I can’t fail you.’ So he managed to. So he was in. Yeah.
CB: So, he joined the RAF.
EP: Yeah. And did all his training and —
CB: Yeah. So he’s started off at Lord’s as usual.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yes.
CB: And then where did he go?
EP: I suppose, was it Athans?
GP: St Athan I think.
EP: St Athans.
GP: Yes.
CB: In South Wales. Yeah.
GP: Yeah.
CB: And what did he go there for?
EP: Training as an engineer or something.
CB: As a —
EP: Engineer. Flight engineer.
GP: Flight engineers. Yes.
EP: And then he joined 166 Squadron. And then after that he went to 153 Squadron.
CB: Ok. And what were they flying?
EP: Lancasters. Yeah.
CB: So, you, what — what did he do when he was flying Lancasters?
GP: Flight engineer.
EP: Yeah. Flight engineer. Looking after all the gear, engines and things.
CB: Right.
GP: [unclear]
CB: How many raids did he go on? Operations.
EP: Well, I think, well they say thirty but I think only twenty seven. But we’ve seen the book.
CB: Right. Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And what happened? What happened to him?
EP: He was killed.
CB: Yeah. But what happened to him?
EP: And then they were put in this —
CB: They flew, they went on a raid. What happened on the raid?
EP: He was shot down by a, by a fighter. And then —
CB: What happened to the crew?
EP: They all, they found six at the time. The same night. But they couldn’t find the seventh. But they found him about four days afterwards.
GP: Buried in the snow.
EP: In the, because it was very snowy.
GP: It had been snowing.
CB: And what was the date of this?
EP: 28th 29th of January 1945.
CB: Ok.
GP: Have you seen a photo of the memorial? Yeah. It’s just above the memorial. On the left is where they actually crashed.
CB: Ok. So where is this?
EP: At Michelbach.
GP: Michelbach.
CB: Which is where?
EP: Near Heidelberg.
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah. He was on the raid to Stuttgart.
CB: Right. On the way or on the way back?
EP: On the way there.
CB: Right.
EP: Because he jettisoned the bombs.
EP: Right.
CB: Yeah.
EP: So they’d time to get rid of the bombs.
CB: Yes.
GP: Yeah.
EP: Because —
CB: We saw where they all dropped.
EP: Oh really. Ok.
CB: Yeah.
GP: The fellow he, the sort of fellow he was he stayed with the pilot and that’s why really. If he’d have jumped out he’d have probably survived.
EP: None of them survived.
GP: None of them survived. But I think he stayed with the pilot. That was his duty.
EP: I read that the pilot was still alive when they pulled him out but he died afterwards.
CB: So, how did the plan come down then? Did it crash land?
EP: Crashed. Crash landed.
GP: He crashed.
CB: And the pilot controlled, did a controlled landing did he?
EP: I suppose so.
GP: Yeah.
EP: Because he was in the plane.
GP: It’s just above where the memorial is. It’s about —
EP: Yeah.
GP: A quarter of a mile away I suppose. Where it actually crashed.
CB: Who, how does it come to have a memorial there?
EP: Because a German went out for a walk in the woods and came across this bit of — well he said a plane but when Geoff and Philip went out there they said no it wasn’t the plane it was a bit of the bomb. And he decided he was going to do something about it with all these men being killed. And he asked the German army whether they could help. So they said, ‘Well yes. We’ll bring you a stone but you’re not to say anything.’ So this stone was carted there and then he did all the wrought iron on it.
CB: So when was this?
EP: ‘72 or ‘73. ’72.
CB: When did you find out about this?
EP: ‘72. ’72.
CB: How did you find out?
EP: Because Geoff was in the ROC and they got letters in the ROC from the, from the RAF. And his colleagues saw it and rang Geoff up and said there’s a memorial being put up for, you know Bristol, or a Lancaster crew and the name is Jenkinson. Is that anything to do with Evelyn’s, your family because he, because my mother lived here with me and he used to come. Les Coffey and of course he knew her name was Jenkinson. And that’s how we found out.
GP: We wouldn’t have known otherwise. No.
CB: So when we say ROC what does that mean?
GP: ROC. Royal Observer Corps.
EP: Royal Observer.
CB: Ok. Right. So then what? So you get to know about it.
EP: Yes. Yes.
CB: Then what?
EP: And then, well we didn’t do anything about it until ’83 when we went out there to see it.
CB: Why was the, what was the reason for the delay from knowing about it and going to see it?
EP: Well, Philip, Philip was farming and Geoff was working.
GP: Yeah.
EP: And then of course —
CB: So you all wanted to go together. Did you?
EP: Yeah. Well, of course Philip wanted to go out in ’83 because it was forty years.
CB: Yeah.
EP: And that was the reason we had to wait.
CB: So we’re talking about Philip being the brother who is on the earlier part of this tape.
EP: Yeah.
GP: Yeah.
CB: And he was looking, on the fortieth anniversary —
EP: Yeah.
CB: Of his own —
EP: Yeah.
CB: Being shot down.
GP: That’s right.
CB: Although —
EP: Yeah.
CB: Five of the crew survived and only two died in that particular instance.
EP: Two died.
CB: Ok.
EP: Yeah.
CB: So when you went out first time that was at the same, it was the same trip.
EP: Yes.
CB: As when you went to —
EP: Yes.
GP: Yeah.
CB: To Philip’s —
EP: Yes.
GP: Yes.
CB: Site. How far away is it?
EP: Oh quite a while.
GP: Quite a few miles. I should think it’s a hundred.
EP: Two or three hundred miles was it?
GP: A hundred and thirty forty miles.
CB: So which site did you go to first?
GP: We went to where the memorial is didn’t we?
EP: The memorial first.
GP: Yeah.
EP: And then we met Hans.
CB: So, to Peter’s memorial.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. And who did you meet there?
EP: Somebody. We don’t know quite know what. Who.
GP: Who was that?
EP: There was a, a teacher who spoke English so he was, you know he said that was he was interpreter. And he told us all about it. You know, about the plane crashing and you know —
GP: Yes. I remember that.
EP: The way the bombs fell and —
CB: How did he know? How did he know that you were coming?
EP: Because Jean wrote a letter.
CB: Jean?
EP: Jean. My sister in law.
CB: Right.
EP: Wrote a letter to Michelbach.
GP: That’s right.
EP: But we didn’t know there were seventeen Michelbachs in Germany and they went to fourteen before it went to the right one. And it’s got the —
CB: You mean in your research you didn’t visit fourteen did you?
EP: No. No [laughs] No.
GP: Yeah.
EP: And then, so they knew we were coming but we didn’t know where we were going and we stopped in this little village and we didn’t know where to go. So, we saw an old girl cleaning her windows. And of course she took a bit longer because watching us. And then Philip took the paper up and showed her the paper and she said, ‘Oh, up there.’ So we went up there and found it. We went to a little hut first of all, house which we didn’t realise was a hotel and he took us down to see the memorial where it was. Yeah.
GP: [unclear]
EP: And then we came back and we came back and we met the burgermeister and met this one and met that one. And we met about seven or eight —
GP: They were very very friendly. Yeah.
CB: They got it all organised.
GP: Yes. They did.
EP: Yes.
CB: And how easy is it to identify? Do people know that it’s there? Or only certain people.
GP: It’s a beauty spot you see.
CB: Is it?
GP: Yeah. And as you drive there is the big car park.
EP: Yes. It’s —
GP: And people park their cars to go and walk through this beauty spot and just past that there’s the memorial right by the road.
CB: So who maintains it?
GP: It was beautiful. Yeah. It’s roped off.
EP: I think the Germans have got to look after it.
GP: They look after it very well.
EP: Because we went out there one day and it wasn’t that good. And I wrote to the War Graves Commission and asked them about it. Anything can be done? No. They only look after one thing. And they’re looking after the graves. They don’t look after a memorial. But I think he must, they must have got something done because the next time we went out there it was sort of painted and looked after.
GP: Beautifully.
EP: So whether they’d got somebody to look after it I don’t know.
CB: So what is the memorial made of?
EP: A big big stone.
GP: A big stone. A very grand stone.
CB: Is it granite? Or what is it?
EP: No. I don’t think so.
GP: No. Not granite.
CB: What colour is it?
GP: Like a sandstone isn’t it? We’ve got a picture of it somewhere haven’t we?
EP: You’ve got a picture there.
CB: And how is the lettering done? Is that painted in or —
EP: No. It’s —
GP: No. I don’t think so. I think it’s —
EP: I don’t know what it —
CB: We’ll have a look in a minute. Yeah. Now, that’s where the memorial is.
EP: Yeah.
CB: And does it attract much attention or people ignore it?
GP: Well, I think it does because it’s a big car park and it’s a beauty spot. The car park’s here and you walk.
EP: And one day, one day when we were there two or three people stopped and had a look at it didn’t they?
GP: Yeah. You go, to go to the walk that they go on to look at the lovely countryside there you have to pass the memorial. It’s right by the road.
CB: So that’s where the memorial is.
EP: Yes.
CB: Where are the bodies of the seven crew buried?
EP: At the War Graves now.
CB: Which is where?
GP: Aglasterhausen? No.
EP: No. Durnbach is it?
GP: Durnbach.
EP: Durnbach.
GP: Durnbach Cemetery.
CB: And how far away is that?
EP: Quite a way. But first of all they were put in their own cemetery.
CB: In the local cemetery. And then they were —
EP: In the local cemetery.
GP: Yeah.
EP: That’s where they went And they had a stone there. And then after that they were taken to the War Graves.
CB: And reinterred there.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok.
EP: And they’re, they’re seven there and Peter’s two are just there. The same row. You know. Just near.
CB: Oh. So by coincidence —
EP: Yes. Isn’t it? And they were sort of killed eighteen months difference.
CB: So two brothers are buried within rows of each other.
EP: No. Philip’s crew.
CB: Philip’s crew.
EP: But his ashes are out there now.
CB: Peters crew but — yes.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Yeah. But the two —
GP: Dug a little hole. About that, square. Right in front of the grave and put —
EP: We weren’t supposed to it but we did.
GP: Some of his ashes.
CB: Yeah. Yeah. So when Peter died —
GP: Pardon?
CB: Sorry. So when Peter died.
GP: Yeah.
CB: Sorry, when Philip died you put him with Peter.
EP: Yes.
GP: Yes.
CB: But nearby —
GP: Just —
CB: Are the two —
GP: Right in front of — we’ve got a photograph somewhere. Right in front of the two.
CB: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
GP: Had a hole like that dug.
CB: What I’m getting at is the two crew from Philip’s —
EP: Yes.
CB: Aircraft are nearby.
EP: Yes. Near. Yes. Different rows.
CB: Right. Ok.
GP: Yeah.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok. So you went to see that. So that’s thirty years ago. What’s been the, what’s happened in the passage of time?
EP: Oh we’ve been, we’ve been over there several times. We go and see the graves and we go to see the memorial.
GP: Its looked after very well.
EP: They take us around.
GP: Yeah.
EP: We went out, the last time we went out there was in 2012 when we took Peter’s err Philip’s ashes out there.
CB: Yes. Yeah.
GP: Yeah.
EP: Yeah.
CB: Ok.
GP: We met an Englishman didn’t we whose something to do with the graves.
EP: Yes. Well that just why — yes.
GP: Yeah. He suggested it. We’d go and we’d dig a little square hole and we’d put his ashes in there.
CB: While nobody’s looking.
GP: And that’s what we did.
EP: Because Philip wanted all his ashes by his crew.
CB: Yeah.
EP: Not Peter. But it wasn’t allowed.
CB: Ok.


Chris Brockbank, “Interview with Evelyn Paine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 5, 2024,

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