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The tale of the WW2 Luftwaffe pilot who mistakenly landed in west Wales

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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.

Armin Faber mistakenly flew to South Wales after the dog-fight

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.

Spitfire pilot Alois Vašátko lost his life in the battle

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.

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Demolition of 4 Tys begins in Tyisha, Llanelli

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Four Tys

WORK to demolish the Four Tys housing blocks in Tyisha, Llanelli has started, marking the next exciting step in Carmarthenshire County Council’s plans to Transform the area. 

The demolition work is set to be completed by civil engineering contractor Walters over the next 20 weeks and will enable the build of modern, mixed-use housing which meets the needs of the community.

Improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces will also form part of changes on the horizon for Tyisha. 

Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “The demolition of the Four Tys marks an important step in the Transforming Tyisha project. Although this process will evoke powerful memories for many of the people who have lived and worked in Tyisha since the Four Tys were built in the 1960s, their demolition will enable us to provide the housing and facilities that the community needs.

Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted throughout to ensure minimum disruption.”

This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.

The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.

Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.

For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/tyisha

The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

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Greatly respected Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant crowned Police Officer of the Year

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DESCRIBED as a ‘perfect example of an exemplary Dyfed-Powys Police Officer’, Sergeant Gemma Davies wins the Police Officer of the Year title at the force annual awards. 

The Dyfed-Powys Police annual awards are a celebration of talent, offering individuals and teams the chance to be recognised and rewarded for their commitment, hard work, achievements and success.

Held at a virtual ceremony on November 18, the awards have showcased some of the force’s outstanding work, with a focus on those who have made an exceptional contribution to policing priorities.

Sergeant Gemma Davies from the Ammanford area, has served with Dyfed-Powys Police for 14 years and was nominated for the award by her manager and her team members – of which there are 33 that she currently supervises in the Carmarthenshire Neighbourhood Policing Team. 

Acting Sergeant Ian Roach said: “Gemma is a fantastic police officer. She’s compassionate and really listens, and cares for the communities she serves, but also her team members. 

“Her standards as an officer are second to none – she’s the best Sergeant I’ve ever worked with. She puts so much work and effort into ensuring communities are safeguarded, and that priorities are met. 

“We deliver as a team as a result of Gemma’s enthusiasm and drive. She is so thorough – no stone is left unturned when she’s looking to resolve a problem.” 

The Police Officer of the Year award recognises excellence, dedication, and initiative within the role.

Not only has Sergeant Gemma Davies scooped this award, but she was also a finalist in the Inspiring Leadership award and nominated in the Here for You category in this year’s annual awards.

Inspector Dawn Fencott-Price said: “Gemma will take on any challenge with a smile and positive attitude – which is infectious and in turn is reciprocated by her team and colleagues from partner agencies.

“She is innovative – one example being where she introduced online virtual meetings for key individuals in the community at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, which proved invaluable in ensuring our communities were kept informed, updated and reassured at such an uncertain time. This was in fact so successful that it was adopted and replicated across the force area.

“She has also instigated many multi agency operations in response to community concerns to tackle the supply of drugs in Carmarthenshire, one notable example being in Bynea last year, which resulted in the seizure of a large number of cannabis plants with a street value of more than £300,000.

“Previously recognised for her relationship building and intelligence gathering in hostile environments by the Senior Management Team, she is passionate about promoting and adopting a problem-solving approach to ensure they get to the root cause of problems.  I have witnessed Gemma’s professionalism first-hand and continue to do so on a regular basis.”

Acting Sergeant Ian Roach concluded: “Gemma is excellent – you couldn’t ask for a better Sergeant. Everyone looks up to her, she is a shining light that motivates everyone she works with.”

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Llanelli animal rescue centre handed grand boost

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Many Tears Animal Rescue

AN ANIMAL rescue centre in Llanelli has received a financial boost as it gears up for its busiest time of the year.

Many Tears Animal Rescue in Cefneithin has received a £1,000 fillip from Persimmon Homes West Wales.

The money comes as part of the housebuilder’s Community Champions scheme. Each and every month Persimmon donates up to £64,000 to good causes across the UK.

The centre rescues unwanted animals and offers life-saving treatment and operations.

Sylvia Van Atta, who founded Many Tears Animal Rescue with her husband Bill, said: “We’re delighted to receive this generous donation from Persimmon Homes.

“We give animals hope of a new life when sometimes they have only known a life of misery, neglect and cruelty.

“On average, we rescue and rehome 3,000 dogs a year, which is an incredible achievement for a small charity.

“When dogs come to us they are seen by a vet and then placed in foster homes around the country, which helps them to acclimatise into a home environment. From here, they go onto their forever home.

“Our running costs are very high so donations like this from Persimmon make the world of difference.”

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We’re pleased to be able to support Many Tears Animal Rescue with this donation.

“The number of animals they help each year is very impressive indeed. I wouldn’t like to think what would happen to these animals otherwise as I know the council run rescue centres are under tremendous pressure.

“All of this has been exasperated by the number of people who bought dogs during various lockdowns, only to decide later on they couldn’t look after them properly.

“We wish Sylvia and her team well for the future.”

Persimmon is preparing to start work on stunning new homes on Aberavon seafront. Househunters can now register an interest by visiting www.persimmonhomes.com or calling 01639 509 055

For more information visit www.persimmonhomes.com, or to apply for Community Champions funding visit www.persimmonhomes.com/charity.

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