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Rudolph Hess plane wreckage hidden by Scottish farmers, letter reveals

May 30th, 2014

It was only when the plane wreckage was put on display in Trafalgar Square in London did they discover that its pilot was not Captain Albert Horn, as Hess had identified himself to Mr McLean, but Hitler’s second in command.

Mr Boyd sold the fuselage in the 1960s to the former assistant secretary of the Battle of Britain Association, who then passed it to The War Museum, a private collection in America.

Details of Mr McLean’s quick-witted salvage operation have only just emerged – more than 70 years on – after a letter written by Mr Boyd that tells their story has been put up for sale alongside the wreckage they recovered.

In the previously unseen letter, Mr Boyd wrote: “I got a call from Dave one late morning in May of 1941 telling me a German pilot had landed on the farm.

“He had captured the fellow and handed him to the local Cpl of the signals unit next door. The pilot had a broken ankle so was taken to Maryhill Barracks Military Hospital for treatment.

“His fighter plane had crashed in the next field which was Bonnytons Farm and Dave had gone over on his cycle and hidden a few souvenirs in the bushes!

“The army signal unit and Home Guard and police were on their way so he had to be quick.

“The whole wreckage was taken away by the Army Maintenance unit from Carluke and nothing was left.

“Dave went back later in the tractor and retrieved the items of which he gave me the section you are having for your collection.

“When we all found out later that the pilot was the German deputy leader under Hitler we really couldn’t believe it!”

One of the plane’s engines is currently on display at the RAF Museum in London, while the other one is at the Imperial War Museum alongside another section of fuselage.

Hess explained his plan to meet with the Duke of Hamilton, who he wrongly thought was the leader of a political party opposed to war with Germany, in a letter to Hitler.

After his capture, Hess was kept in Britain as a prisoner of war until his trial following Germany’s surrender on May 8 1945.

During the trial he said that he could not remember his actions but later admitted that was just a ruse.

Hess was found guilty of war crimes and sent to Spandau prison in Germany to serve a life sentence.

On August 17 1987, then aged 93, Hess hanged himself in the prison’s summerhouse using an electrical cable.

The fuselage and letter are expected to £3,000 pounds when they go under the hammer at Bonhams, the auction house, in New York on June 5.

Tom Lamb, a historian at Bonhams, said: “The story of Rudolf Hess’ strange flight to Britain in 1941 is well known but the story of Stanley Boyd, the farm hand who ended up with this section of fuselage, has never been told before.

“Hess was a key figure in the war and this section of his plane is an incredibly important part of the war.

“Not many people get to own a piece of a Messerschmitt, let alone one flown by Rudolf Hess.”

World War Two

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