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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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Cruise Culture returns to Carmarthen this Sunday

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WALES’ biggest modified and performance car show is returning to the Carmarthen Showground this Sunday, August 25.

Cruise Culture is a static car show with modified, performance, classic and standard cars. The annual show attracts thousands of visitors each year.

On Sunday August 25, the ultimate indoor show hall will have some of the best modified cars from all over the UK on display, as well as an outdoor show and shine section.

Growing year on year, Cruise Culture now welcomes over 40 club stands. The entertainment stage will have DJs playing all day. Competitions throughout the day will include: Club of the Show; Car of the Show; Show and Shine Winner; Best Club Stand Car; Best Show Hall Car; Best Wheels of the Show and Best Install.

Prizes and awards will be handed out for each of the various competitions. There will also be inflatables and fair attractions, meaning Cruise Culture is a great family day out.

There will be a wide variety of food stalls, not just burger vans but hog roasts, BBQ, pizza and much more. The Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show will also take place, as the team of riders perform breathtaking jumps and stunts.

Pre-sale tickets have now ended. Tickets are now only available at the gate. Gate price is £7 per person. Under 12’s get in free.

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Ignite your vocal powers with the new Torch Voices Choir

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A VOCAL coach who has worked with stars from the West End and Broadway is to launch a new community choir this autumn at the Torch Theatre.

Torch Voices, led by Angharad Sanders, is a choir open to all abilities, from those who would like to give singing a go for the first time to those who may wish to sharpen up their vocal skills. Covering music off all genres, this is a fantastic opportunity to sing in a friendly and fun ensemble. The choir will meet weekly on Thursday’s at the Torch Theatre from 5 September.

Angharad has many years of experience working in theatre and with choirs and singers across the globe. Previous students include Pixie Lott, both recent lead actors from the West End smash hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; John McRea and Layton Williams (Bad Education, Hairspray UK Tour) and new Broadway leading man Sam Primack (Understudy Evan in Dear Evan Hansen). She most recently was the musical director for the 5-star original U.K. touring production of Madagascar: the Musical, starring X Factor winner Matt Terry.

Angharad commented: “I’m extremely excited to be at the musical helm of the new Torch Voices. It’s long been a desire to return to Wales and work with local talent. At Torch Voices we will be covering all musical styles, from pop songs by artists such as The Pentatonix, Madonna, Adele and Queen through musical theatre repertoire and classical material. I would love to welcome passionate singers of all ages and abilities to come along and join us bringing this music to life. The choir is open to anyone aged between 16 (those aged 8 and over can attend if accompanied by an adult) and up and there will be no audition needed or requirement, other than a desire to make some great music.”

If you are looking to join the Torch Voices or just give singing a go, the theatre is offering two free taster sessions on Thursday 5 and Thursday 12 September from 6pm. The choir will run until Thursday 19 December before taking a Christmas break and costs £55 per term to take part. To sign up, please contact Box Office on 01646 695 267 or via boxoffice@torchtheatre.co.uk.

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Pupils design road safety posters

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PEMBROKEHSIRE Road Safety team and Narberth-based Kia car dealers, Gravells, are working together to remind parents and children to buckle up this summer.

Pupils from schools across Pembrokeshire have taken part in a Seatbelt Safety competition in which they had to design a poster incorporating road safety characters Ziggy Zebra and Grizzly Gravell.

The contest proved extremely popular with the Road Safety team receiving over 300 entries. From these, one junior and one infant winner were picked as well as a number of runners up and highly commended entries.

The outstanding winning posters were designed by Macey James from Narberth School and Sam Clark from Pembroke Dock Community School.

Both conveyed simple messages – ‘Buckle Up Your Seatbelt’ and ‘Don’t Take Your Seatbelt Off’ – reminding drivers that the safest way for children to travel in cars is to use the right seat restraint and to always wear a seat belt.

The two winners received £25 gift vouchers with £10 vouchers going to the runners-up and goody bags for those Highly Commended. The winning schools also received cheques from Gravells.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Phil Baker, the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said the standard of work was very high.

“We are very grateful to all those young artists who contributed with their entries. A great deal of thought goes into the making of their artwork” said Councillor Baker.

“We want to encourage people of all ages in Pembrokeshire to recognise the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt and the importance of being in the correct car restraint. These award-winning posters will certainly help to remind people of this vital message.

“Not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. The driver is responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child restraint for their height and age.”

Ian Gravell, Dealer Principal for Gravells, added: “Road safety is a major concern on today’s busy roads so we are delighted to be a part of this exciting and important initiative.”

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