REGARDING the recent interview with Prince Harry about his time in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot when he was asked whether he had killed, his reply was: “Yes, if there are people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we take them out of the game”.
Why the media outcry to this statement? On February 3, 1940, Peter Townsend shot down an Heinkel 111 bomber (3232) and it crashed near Whitby. The first German aircraft to crash in Britain in the Second World War.
Of the crew, one was shot in the head and died instantly, a second was fatally injured, the gunner had his leg shot to pieces, but the pilot escaped without injury.
Peter Townsend visited the injured gunner in hospital.
He later said: “I could speak no German and he no English, I held out my hand and he grasped it, his look I will never forget, he had the look of a dying animal in his eyes. If he did die then I would be his killer; he showed no bitterness to me; he looked pitiful, frightened and sad.
“I held out a bag of oranges and a tin of Players I had brought him, they seemed poor compensation. It was them or me, kill or be killed, it never, ever struck me at the time that I was killing men, all I saw was black crosses firing at me.”
Townsend was decorated and hailed as a hero in 1940, so where is the difference between Prince Harry and the man who wanted to marry his great aunt?
Taken from his book Duel of Eagles, 1940.
David Mooney, Brookland Road, Bridlington.