Pilot’s son visits site of Second World War crash in High Salvington

Rudolf Theopold
Rudolf Theopold

A Lancing author has revisited the subject of his first book and site of a Second World War plane crash.

Graham Lelliott’s first book, ‘A German Bomber on Worthing Soil’, was detailed study of the German Heinkel 111P bomber which was shot down in High Salvington on August 16,1940.

Graham Lelliott and Klaus Theopold at the crash site

Graham Lelliott and Klaus Theopold at the crash site

Now, Graham has revisited the crash site with the son of the pilot who made the emergency landing.

Graham said: “My first book was about a Heinkel 111P Bomber which was shot down at High Salvington.

“Despite many attempts to try and trace relatives of the aircrew, I was unable to do so.

“Almost 10 years later, a lead led me to make contact with Klaus Theopold, the son of the pilot, Rudolf Theopold.

“Klaus has been very keen to learn more about his father’s aircraft and had said earlier in the year that he would love to visit the field in which his father made the emergency landing.

“This became a reality on Tuesday, October 28, when Klaus, his daughter and a friend, met me at Shoreham Airport, where we enjoyed a coffee before traveling on to the crash site location.

“Once there, we talked about, among other things, his father, the aircraft, how he was detained and how he became a prisoner of war.

Klaus and his daughter later returned to Heathrow Airport to head home to Germany.

Graham added: “Ironically, Heathrow Airport, then known as the Great West Aerodrome, was the target for his father’s Heinkel, in which the bomb aimer dropped the aircraft’s bomb load from above.”

Klaus said: “It was very interesting and moving for me to be at the place where my father managed to do this emergency landing.”