Cox, Eric (b.1923)

Eric Cox was born and brought up in Glastonbury, where his family had a market gardening business. In his youth he attended the Boys’ Brigade, which was affiliated to Glastonbury Congregational Chapel. After Dunkirk the Boys Brigade band would march soldiers to church every Sunday.


He remembers aspects of the Second World War, including planes being brought down in Somerset, and the bombing of Bristol. His working life was spent in Glastonbury at Baily’s and Snow’s, a sporting goods manufacturer.

A chart from a newspaper detailing the outlines of German and allied aircraft, 1940. A chart from a newspaper detailing the outlines of German and allied aircraft, 1940.
Sound File
Listen to Eric Cox - 1.16MB Duration 4:50 min.

EC: There was our fighters in between them and I was in the office, working at Baily’s, looking out the window and I don't know what made me do it, but I went outside and I seen an aeroplane floating down like that. And it came across Glastonbury and it just got over Wearyall - the hill here - and it landed in the moor. No damage at all, but the Germans had shot it down. They - it pierced the - the tale was that they pierced the petrol tank and he ran out of fuel.


And when they got the Police - of course, the Police were first on the spot - they'd seen the plane coming down, they were out there in their cars. And when they got there, the pilot had jumped out and he was swearing like the devil. He'd been shot down and he'd chased them that morning from Southampton. …I always remember the Police saying “Cor, I've never heard a man swear like it in all my life!” Being shot down - uninjured.


AH: Whereabouts actually did it come down?


EC: Just down here - in one of the fields - by the river - yeah. Perfect landing - yeah. That’s about the only one I can remember, during the war, of a plane coming down. But there was some came down. They shot a German plane down at Coxley, during the war. There’s one or two came down round here.


Matter of fact, there was a British - they reckon it was a Fairey Fulmar - a plane from Yeovilton, a Fleet Air Arm plane, crashed in one of my father's grounds, down the moor. And when it crashed, they went to see where it happened, and all they found was a hole and right to this day they never ever found the aeroplane. He went right down in the peat. They was down there digging at different times and never came to it.


And that hole in that field - my father used to fill that in. It was one of his grasslands, you see. He used to fill that in with earth and by the next year, there was a hole there again. And my father filled that in year-in, year-out, and the - it swallowed up all the earth he put in that hole every year. And right to the end, you could go down there - you could still see a hole. That’ll show you how you how soft the ground is at Sharpham, where they dig the peat out.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in November 1995. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.