Reproduced, with kind permission, from the personal accounts of George Painter, Royal Signals att 8th Hussars.

Whilst with 8H in Germany I got caught for one of these Daimler Scout Car border patrols, a major incident occurred when an RAF plane got shot down by MIGs.

It was on the 12th of March 1953 that as a Royal Signals Corporal I was detailed to go on an East German Border Patrol whilst stationed with the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars in Luneberg, West Germany, as it then was! Our Barracks were about 12 miles from the border! Actually no grouse from me on this assignment as I was looking forward to it!

And so we commenced our patrol, three Daimler Scout Cars, a Lieutenant in the front and me in the rear, plus drivers, of course. And so we assumed our patrol just driving up and down the road parallel with the border.

I happened to glance up and saw a Parachutist descending, radioed the Lieutenant and he said, yes Corporal can see it, we will follow to see where it lands. We had heard no noise, no gunfire or sign of any aircraft!

However, the parachutist, fortunately, landed on our side of the border on some scrubland! We approached him on foot and I could see him smile as presumably realised we were British Soldiers! He was leaning back on his arms with his chute around him, he was badly injured!

Quite remarkably, we were not in wireless contact with 8th KRI Hussars, so had to find a German phone box to call for an ambulance. (I mentioned a lack of communication when I got back to RHQ) However, sadly the airman died.

We never saw anything of the aircraft but apparently, it was shot down by Russian MIG’s killing the rest of the crew making it seven killed with the plane crashing at Boizenberg in the Soviet Zone of Germany.

The aircraft was an Avro Lincoln operated by the Central Gunnery School at R.A.F Leconsfield and was on a routine long-distance training flight.

Unfortunately, it is said that the aircraft intruded into East German Air Space! This was the only R.A.F aircraft shot down during the Cold War!

Five of the crew are buried in St.Catherines Churchyard, Leconsfield.

The airman we got to was Squadron Leader Fitz, other crew members, Flight Lieutenant Wyles, and Sergeants Jones, Mason, and Stevens, were all crew members of Lincoln Bomber RF 531, with the pilot Flight Sergeant Dunnell, who were buried elsewhere.

A very sad incident in the Cold War that with other experiences remains with me every day!

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars