The Exbury Junkers: A WW2 Mystery

A World War II Mystery
ISBN 1-903953-60-X
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by John Stanley
Curious tale of a lone German Ju188 aircraft shot down at Exbury in 1944 under mysterious circumstances.

Anybody who enjoys a real-life detective story will find plenty to enjoy in this well researched book which will also appeal to those interested in the hidden history of the Second World War.

On a fine spring morning in 1944, seven weeks before D-Day, a lone German Junkers 188 twin-engined bomber emerged from the clouds over the Isle of Wight, circled low over the northern part of the island and somehow managed to withstand a barrage of anti-aircraft fire before flying across the Solent to the Hampshire coast, where it was promptly attacked by two RAF Typhoons and further anti-aircraft fire.

The stricken German aircraft crashed in a field close to Exbury House which at the time was the home of HMS Mastodon, a naval headquarters closely involved in preparations for the Normandy landings.

None of the men on board the Junkers Ju188 survived.

On examination of the wreckage it was discovered  that seven men had been on board a plane  design for only three.  This, combined with the aircraft's inexplicable  manoeuvres  before it was summarily dispatched  gave rise to a good deal of speculation as to the  purpose of its flight  and the intentions of the seven young victims on board.  Among those intrigued was the author Neville Shute, who included the incident in one of his books.

Since there were no survivors, and with the Solent under the tightest of security lockdowns due to the preparations for D-Day , there seemed no possibility of  discovering the true mission of the Exbury Junkers.

Many years later, John Stanley stumbled upon the mystery during a visit to Exbury Gardens,  now return to its owners  the Rothschild family and open to the public as a popular tourist attraction. John became fascinated by the Exbury Junkers and  decided to  attempt to solve the mystery once and for all.

This book is the result of his researches, in which he  identifies the seven young Germans who died in the crash and sets about trying to ascertain why so many of them were crammed into such a small aircraft and what they intended to achieve by their flight to  Southern England.

details softback | 156 x 234mm | 135 pages | b/w photos