Hurricane Pilot Harry Newton – Shot Down During the WW2 Battle of Britain in 1940

Botley Hill Farmhouse today.  Source:
Botley Hill Farmhouse today. Source:

Nicole Joubert, the manager and part owner of the Botley Hill Farmhouse, listened in fascination to the story of Harry Snow Newton, and when it was finished agreed to hang a picture commemorating him on the pub’s wall.

During the Battle of Britain, Harry Newton was a Hurricane pilot. On the 18th August, 1940 – one of the most difficult days of the Battle – Harry noticed a German Dornier-17 that had one engine dead and opened fire on the bomber.  He missed and found himself in the Dornier’s line of fire. A hail of bullets from the bomber tore through Newton’s aircraft, engulfing it in flames. He bailed out of the plane with burns on his face and hands.

Harry parachuted to safety on Botley Hill, where he was rescued by a group of soldiers and was taken for treatment of his burns.  These burns kept him out of action for two months.

The pilot of the Dornier, Guenther Unger, also survived the incident. His crippled plane crash landed in the English Channel, and he barely escaped drowning when his cockpit filled with water.

The unusual part of the story is that after the war, these two pilots got in touch with one another and became firm friends. Harry learned to speak German and visited Unger and his family in Germany.

Harry passed away in 1996, but he left an indelible mark on his family.  His 94-year old sister, Joan and his two nieces Andi and Pamela traveled to Botley Hill Farmhouse, with the unusual request to hang a picture to commemorate their brother and uncle’s feat.  After a convivial meal, the amazed owner gave them permission to hang the picture, adding a point of interest to this 16th Century pub and restaurant.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE