Our first exhibition ” Washed Ashore” included stories of items that have been found on the beaches of West Bay.
The exhibition also highlighted the problem of plastic pollution in our seas and included sea sculptures produced by children from Loders Primary School using plastic washed up on the beach.
One of the historic items we had in our exhibition was a piece of Shrapnel from a Heinkel III bomber and part of an incendiary bomb 1942, loaned by Bridport Museum Trust.
A Heinkel III crash-landed just off the beach between West Bay and Eype on the 6th November 1940. They were suffering with both a compass failure and English efforts to mask the German radio beacons, which led them to believe they were over the coast of France. They mistook the water for shingle. Three out of the four crew survived, the missing airman was believed to be have been dragged out to sea as he tried to escape from the aircraft. His body was recovered and buried with full military honours.
The aircraft had been carrying an intact X-Gerät radio known as ‘Wotan 1’, which was designed for precision bombing. The troops on the spot were set to guard the aircraft and not let anyone interfere. Naval personnel at West Bay offered to lend a hand and were rebuffed. The vital, sought after, internal equipment was not immediately retrieved from the water and was irreparably damaged. There was anger that the raid of Coventry, a week later, might have conceivably been avoided.
We always love hearing local stories and John Hawkins told us this story about his grandfather.
My Grandfather was a great beachcomber. He found a very old gold coin and not realising it’s true worth, took it to the pub and exchanged it for a drink not realising it’s value.
Do you have any stories of treasures you have found on the beach at West Bay? unfortunately, all we find is plastic pollution.