The Last Battle Fought on British Soil – The Battle of Graveney Marsh

Did you know that The Battle of Graveney Marsh was the last battle to take place on British soil involving a foreign enemy? Some great pictures here from Instagram as a slideshow:

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The Last Battle Fought on British Soil🇬🇧- The Battle of Graveney Marsh _ The Battle of Graveney Marsh was the last battle to take place on British soil involving a foreign enemy. It took place on the night of 27 September, 1940 on Graveney Marsh, a piece of marshland in Seasalter, a hamlet just next to Whitstable on the North Kent Coast, when a formation of Junkers Ju 88-A1 bombers, a new variant of the Ju 88 that were returning home after a raid on London, were spotted and attacked by Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes from 66 Squadron and 92 Squadron of the RAF above Faversham upon receiving an order issued to the spitfires to capture one of the new variants intact if possible. One of the Ju 88-A1, commanded by Unteroffizer (Sergeant) Fritz Ruhlandt already had one of its two engines damaged by British anti-aircraft fire on London, and the Spitfires were able to destroy its remaining engine, forcing him to make a crash landing on Graveney Marsh, a marshland that has seen many crashlandings of planes from both sides during the Battle of Britain and the subsequent Blitz, as it had the ideal crashlanding site, free of any obstacles. The 1st battalion of the London Irish Rifles, billeted in the Sportsman Inn in Seasalter, dashed to the crash-site armed, expecting the 4 German Luftwaffe crew to surrender, but they were wrong. The Luftwaffe crew opened fire with their firearms including one of the on-board machine guns. The British servicemen split into two groups, and while one served as distraction, another group crawled along an embankment in the marsh to get within 50 yards from the plane, and then they too also started shooting. After a heavy exchange of fire and one of the Luftwaffe crew shot in the foot, the airmen surrendered and nobody was killed. While body-searching the crew, commanding officer Captain John Cantopher overheard one of the crew mention that the plane should ‘go up’ any moment. With that, he dashed into the aircraft, located the explosive charge and threw it into a dyke, saving the aircraft for British engineers to examine. CONTINUED DOWN IN COMMENTS!! 🔽🔽

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From the comments:

“After that, the British soldiers took the captured airmen into the pub and even had a pint of beer before they were picked up.

The aircraft, which carried a new and accurate type of bombsight, was taken to Farnborough Airfield and examined where it was said to have provided ’highly valuable information’. Captain Cantopher was subsequently awarded the George Medal for removing the self-destruct bomb the airmen installed.
_
Photo 1 shows soldiers of the London Irish Regiment training on Graveney Marsh in 1940.
Photo 2 shows JU88A-1 pilot Unteroffizier Fritz Ruhlandt.
Photo 3&4 shows the downed JU88A-1 plane on Graveney Marsh
Photo 5 shows Unteroffizier Erwin Richter, the wireless operator of the downed Luftwaffe plane with his wife.
Photo 6 shows Captain John Cantopher, the commanding officer of the London Irish Regiment
Photo 7 shows a map of the incident. Seasalter is right next to Whitstable (in the centre of the picture), and is located where the ‘s’ in Whitstable is.”

Credit: @ww2_historypics

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