Aerial Dogfight Over Tramore in WW2

My town Tramore is located in a quiet and peaceful corner of Ireland and during WW2 was not massively affected by what was going on in the rest of the world. People were aware of the war and food was rationed but life continued unaffected.

On Sunday morning 23rd of August 1942 things were to get a lot different, as many townsfolk made their way to 10am mass at the local church they heard loud noise from a German aircraft being chased by two British spitfires. Local people had to dive to safety as bullets rained down on the street as the Junker decreased altitude dramatically and came under fire.

The German plane a Junkers 88 taking fire from the British spitfires force landed in a field near Carriglong. The action seen over Tramore Bay, St Otterans Terrace and the Racecourse was part of a series of much larger events that started many hours earlier.

In a small airfield outside of Paris 4 German Luftwaffe airmen: Paul Stormer (Pilot), Karl Hund, Gottfried Berndt and Josef Reiser took off on a reconnaissance mission to obtain details about Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland. The Junkers 88 flew along the east coast of Ireland and was spotted by many lookout boxes and eventually also by British radar that scrambled available Spitfires to intercept.

The first spitfire on the scene chased the Junkers 88 inland over Co Meath and in the aerial fight took a hit and crashed to the ground in flames. The pilot Officer Boleslaw Sauwiak died later from his injuries in hospital.

Not long after Sauwiak crashed his plane two more spitfires arrived on the scene from North Ireland. They chased the plane southward but after running out of ammunition and fuel had to retreat. The Junker headed its course towards Waterford flying over Kildare and Kilkenny on its way back to France. When over Waterford two more spitfires joined the fight this time from Wales causing the plane to force land in Tramore.

A local farmer seeing the plane crash on his land ran out to help, he was held at gun point by the 4 Luftwaffe men and once he calmed them down brought them back to the farmhouse where they were given a full Irish breakfast. Later that day the Irish Army arrested the men and brought them to the Curragh Camp where they were interned.

One of the Officers many years later returned to Tramore to see again the big bay over which his plane crashed.