Can you answer a question for the Village Archive?


Occupants 1 Markstone Cottages

For the past 18 months I have assisted with research into the crash landing of a German plane in Iwerne Minster in September 1940. The tail fin of that plane was discovered in a house in the village (1 Markstone Cottages) in 1978 and remained in the attic until sold at auction in 2018. The purchaser of the tail fin has been trying to find out the history of the plane and how the tail fin ended up in Child Okeford. It is thought a member of the Home Guard was involved.

An article on the subject has now been published in the Dorset Echo and can be read here

or on the village web site ( – the Village – Village History and Archive – This Month from the Archive) which also includes some photographs. [See below].

What we are trying to find out is who lived at 1 Markstone Cottages prior to Frank Spencer. We know:

– Frank moved in in 1978

– In 1939 the occupants were Henry Butt, his wife Lottie and son Dennis

– Henry died in 1970, Lottie in 1978. They are buried in the village

– We believe Dennis died in 1967

It may well be the Butt family lived in the house until Lottie’s death. But we don’t know. Do you?

Any information will be much appreciated.

Home Guard

On a separate, but related, issue thanks to Sherry Jesperson, the Archive has received documents relating to Child Okeford’s Auxiliary Unit and this will feature in a future article in “The Hill”.

Ironically, while we have much information on this secret Unit, we have very little information on the Village’s Home Guard beyond a short mention in the millennium book. Official records are restricted to officers only and searches on line and at Dorset History Centre have failed to reveal anything of note. We can only, therefore, seek anecdotal input but as the children of those who served are now 80+ we are, perhaps, reaching the “last chance saloon” to record any memories of those who were involved.

Can you help, please?

If anyone can help on either or both items please contact me.

David Pope (01258) 861411, email: [email protected]


Dorset Echo 18th June 2020

Historian wants pictures of plane that crashed in Iwerne Minster during the Battle of Britain

By Josie Klein Reporter

AN AMATEUR historian is reaching out to the public for help in his quest to find photographs and information about a German plane that crashed in Dorset during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Martin Reilly, from Surrey, is on a mission to find out about the crash that took place 80 years ago at Iwerne Minster, near Blandford.

His quest began two years ago after he bought a piece of tail fin at an auction from the Bf 110 fighter-bomber that crashed.

The tail fin had been discovered in 1978 wrapped in newspaper in between attic beams at a home in Iwerne Minster where it had been put by, Mr Reilly suspects, a member of the Home Guard in 1940 after the crash. The second owner left it there until 2018 when it was taken to auction.

Mr Reilly is appealing to the public for help finding a photograph of the crash. He is working with John Vascoe, an author who has written or co-written 10 books on the Bf 110 fighter-bomber.

Mr Reilly said: “This is a community story that we are trying to fit together. I have no doubt that there are photographs out there, we just haven’t found them yet.

“John Vascoe has been searching for a photograph of this crash for 40 years. I’ve been in contact with the Battle of Britain museum in Kent and asked if they have any photos and they don’t but they said they would love to include one in their collection so even they don’t have one.”

Mr Reilly has pieced together information from history books, anecdotes and extensive research to find out what happened in the crash that took place. He has found pictures of two men onboard the plane when it went down, Fritz Ebner and Werner Zwick. They were injured in the crash and were captured.

“My gut feeling is that the reason we can’t find any photographs of the crash is due to the fact of potential secrecy. My suspicion is that the Home Guard were on the scene very quickly once the plane came down and my calculated guess is that the moment they got to the crash site they prevented people from taking photos as they may have been paranoid of spies.”

Mr Reilly is hopeful that photographs of the crash will be uncovered and will be preserved in archives for generations to come to look back on and keep pursuing answers.

He said: “This is all about putting the story out there and letting the story be known so that in another 80 years’ time, Dorset residents can gain more information and perhaps pick up from where we left off.

“It’s a bit of local history, let’s try and preserve it before it vanishes all together.”

If you have any information or photographs of the crash email Martin Reilly at [email protected]



Fritz Ebner one of the pilots who survived the crash.


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