IT WAS this time of year, 1942, that a bizarre series of events led to a German fighter pilot landing at RAF Pembrey in South Wales, unintentionally aiding the war effort of The Allied Forces in the process.
On June 23, 1942, Oberleautnant Armin Fabar was ordered to a fly a combat mission along with his squadron, in response to an Allied bombing raid of northern France.
Fabar’s squadron (the 7th Staffel) all flew Focke-Wulf 190 fighter planes. These planes were seen as superior to the then current Spitfires of the Allied Forces, and in the subsequent dog-fight that developed over The English Channel seven Spitfires were shot down, compared to only two Focke-Wulf 190s (FW-190s).
One Czechoslovakian Spitfire pilot, Alois Vašátko, dramatically lost his life when, in the fray of combat, he collided head-on with an FW-190. The German pilot bailed out and was later captured by Allied Forces.
In the ensuing battle, Faber became disorientated and was separated from his squadron. He was attacked by a Spitfire manned by Seargent František Trejtnar. In a desperate attempt to shake off his pursuer, Faber fled North over the skies of Devon. He pulled off a brilliant ‘Immelman Turn’, a move in which the sun is used to dazzle a pursuer on your tail. Now flying directly from Trejtnar’s view of the sun, Faber shot him down.
Trejtnar crashed near the village of Black Dog, Devon suffering shrapnel wounds and a broken arm.
The victorious Faber had another problem entirely, though he was unaware of it at the time. He had mistaken The Bristol Channel for The English Channel, and flew north into south Wales, thinking it was northern France!
Finding the nearest airfield – RAF Pembrey, in Carmarthernshire, Faber prepared to land. Observers on the ground ‘could not believe their eyes’ as Faber waggled his wings in a victory celebration, lowered the Focke-Wulf’s undercarriage and landed.
Faber expected to be greeted with open arms by his German brothers, but was instead greeted by Pembrey Duty Pilot, Sgt Matthews, pointing a flare gun at his face (he had no other weapon to hand).
As the gravity of the mistake slowly dawned on him, the stricken Faber was ‘so despondent that he attempted suicide’ unsuccessfully.
Faber was later driven to RAF Fairwood Common for interrogation under the escort of Group Captain David Atcherley. Atcherley, fearful of an escape attempt, aimed his revolver at Faber for the entire journey. At one point the car hit a pothole, causing the weapon to fire; the shot only narrowly missing Faber’s head!
Fabers mistaken landing in Wales was a gift for The Allied Forces, a disaster for The Third Reich.
He had inadvertently presented the RAF with one of the greatest prizes of the entire war – an intact example of the formidable Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane, an aircraft the British had learned to fear and dread ever since it made its combat debut the previous year.
Over the following months Faber’s plane was examined in minute detail, the allies desperately looking for any weakness in the FW-190. There were few to be found.
They did find one, however.
The FW-190s became relatively sluggish at higher altitudes. This knowledge aided the Allied Forces and saved countless lives, as the aerial battles turned increasingly in their favour.
Faber was taken as a prisoner of war, eventually being sent to a POW camp in Canada. Towards the end of the war he was sent home to Germany due to his ill health.
49 years later Faber would visit the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, where parts of his FW-190 are displayed to this day, along with parts of the Spitfire that he shot down in the skies over Devon. He presented the Museum with his officer’s dagger and pilot’s badge.
This little-known but important piece of Carmarthenshire history illustrates not only the high-stakes arms race between The Third Reich and The Allied Forces during WW2, but also the cost of human error.
New Body Cameras for Transport for Wales Staff
Last year alone, saw over 350 reported accounts of physical or verbal abuse against staff on trains in Wales and whilst this is a small number in terms of the overall passenger journeys, TfW are keen to further reduce this number as any incident should not be tolerated.
Antisocial figures in Wales show an improving trend in comparison with the rest of the UK and TfW has previously committed to providing CCTV at every station across the Wales and Borders network and already introduced additional security staff.
This trial is another step forward in reducing this type of behaviour and is being delivered in partnership with the British Transport Police.
The trial will include four different type of cameras, and after a review period, one company will be selected to supplying 300 across the network.
Ken Skates, Welsh Government Transport and North Wales Minister, said:
“Everyone has the right to work or travel on our network without the fear of abuse or threats. The rail staff there to help us are no different to our family and friends. They are working hard to get us from A to B, often in difficult circumstances.
“We must stamp out anti-social behaviour and do everything we can to support staff to do their jobs and let passengers make their journeys in a safe and pleasant environment.”
Daniel Hopkin, a frequent rail passenger on the Neath to Cardiff line added:
“It’s great that Transport for Wales are fitting their staff with cameras. I regularly travel between Neath and Cardiff on the train and I think that any improvements in safety will benefit customers.
“The railway station can be really hectic and the fact that staff will have body cameras should act as a deterrent to some of the occasional bad behaviour. Transport for Wales seem to be considering different ways to improve things for the customer and I find that encouraging as a passenger.”
Marc Clancy, Transport for Wales Conductor said:
“We have to deal with a range of people daily and most of our customers are grateful and polite. We work extremely hard to give our customers the best possible experience when using our services, however at times staff and passengers do experience occasional antisocial behaviour and abuse.
“The introduction of these cameras should act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour, support assault prosecutions and boost public confidence in safety.
“They will provide our front-line staff with more confidence when dealing with difficult situations and abusive customers.”
BTP Superintendent Andrew Morgan, said:
“The safety of passengers and our rail industry colleagues is our absolute priority and we do everything we can to protect them.
“We fully support the introduction of body worn cameras for Transport for Wales’ frontline staff – we know from experience that body worn video is a fantastic piece of kit that helps us in securing convictions against those who target staff with unnecessary violence or abuse.
“We hope the introduction will deter anti-social behaviour and provide reassurance to rail staff as well as passengers.
Fortunately, these types of incidents are few and far between, however if anyone has any concerns while travelling, they can text us on 61016.”
Courts fine a Llwynhendy man for illegal cockling
|A man from Llwynhendy in Llanelli has been fined £1,032 for illegal cockling at Burry Inlet Cockle Fishery.|
|Terry Royston Butchers, aged 64, was summoned to appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts on Friday, 31 January, 2020.|
He admitted taking live cockles from the licensed area twice and failing to comply with instructions from an enforcement officer.
He was fined £240 and ordered to pay Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) legal costs totalling £760, plus £32 court costs.
During a night time patrol on 29 June, 2019, he was found attempting to get sacks of cockles from his quad bike onto a 4×4.
He gave false details and tried to escape several times. NRW officers stopped him and then positively identified him with assistance from Dyfed-Powys Police .
His cockle gathering equipment was seized and he was ordered to place all live cockles back on the cockle beds.Andrea Winterton, Marine Services Manager of Natural Resources Wales, said:
“Our enforcement officers work hard, often in difficult circumstances, to tackle illegal cockling. It is an essential part of our careful management of the cockle beds.
Illegal cockling not only damages people’s livelihoods, it can seriously damage cockle habitat and the sustainability of the cockle population.
”Natural Resources Wales manages the cockling industry at Burry Inlet to maintain the delicate balance between the needs of the local economy and the area’s protected wildlife.
Licensing the area puts measures in place to protect the habitat. Dealing with persistent illegal cockling, helps to prevent the cockle beds from having to close.
There are currently 36 licensed cocklers who can fish sustainably at Burry Inlet. There are 61 people on a waiting list.
Andrea Winterton added:
“The Burry Inlet Fishery is important to our local heritage. If we look after our environment, the economy, society and wildlife can all benefit.
“I would encourage people to report concerns about illegal shell fishing or other fishing practices to the confidential NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.”
Anyone wanting to gather cockles within the Burry Inlet Fishery must have a valid licence.
The only exception is an area between Llanrhidian Pill in the South and Llanelli Dock in the North, where people can gather a maximum of 8kg a day without a licence for personal consumption.
Find out more about the Burry Inlet Cockle Fishery.
To report concerns around illegal cockling, call the NRW hotline on 0300 065 3000 24 hours a day.
First look at new plans for Llanelli town centre
THE first look at new plans for a key development site in Llanelli town centre have been revealed.
Carmarthenshire County Council is planning a massive investment in the town centre to transform, regenerate and connect its key retail and leisure areas.
The latest to be unveiled is the plan for Market Street North, where a number of new commercial units are set to be built with high quality apartment living space above.
They would replace the building most recently occupied by Altalia, which unfortunately cannot be redeveloped owing to its poor structural condition.
However, new designs for the development give a nod to the current building’s character, including the replication of its splayed corner.
A traditional brick and block façade is also planned to complement the character of the Exchange Building which stands opposite.
A pre-planning consultation is now underway by Asbri Planning, on behalf of the county council, where members of the public can view the plans and provide feedback before a formal planning application is submitted.
The Market Street North scheme is just one of a series of planned developments across the whole town centre, where millions of pounds are being invested to improve the appearance of the main shopping district and attract more commercial interest and footfall.
The council has already spent £4.5million buying empty shop units from private ownership, renovating and bringing them back in to use at affordable rental levels – all of them currently occupied by independent businesses with tenants in the first and second floor apartments.
A Local Development Order has been put in place to simplify the planning process for potential investors, and property development grants are being offered to owners of town centre buildings to improve the appearance of shop fronts.
More investment is in the pipeline and yet to be announced, but the council has confirmed this will involve further investment in key buildings and development sites across the whole town centre.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the council, said: “Very shortly we will be sharing our vision for the whole town centre, where we are investing heavily to improve the town’s appeal and bring more businesses and people in.
“We have already spent significantly to buy several buildings from private owners and have brought them back in to use at rental levels that are achievable for the local market. This has been its own success, but we have even more planned.
“Market Street North is an important element of these plans, and we’ve seized the opportunity of significant grant funding from the Welsh Government to develop this site.
“We know this is a much-loved building that holds a lot of memories for many people in Llanelli, and whilst we cannot use the current building because of its poor structural state we are keen to retain the look and feel of this corner.
“We hope our plans to re-build on this site, providing improved retail and food units with apartments above, will attract new businesses and people to the town.
“We are still disappointed that Altalia is no longer part of our plans for this site because of the owners’ own commitments, but we want to create purpose-built premises that will become home to businesses of equal appeal and quality to bring vibrancy back to this end of town.
“This feeds in to our overall plans for the town which we hope to share in the very near future.”
The pre-planning consultation for Market Street North is now live at www.asbriplanning.co.uk and is also available to view at Llanelli Library until March 4, 2020.
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