Help me remember this kid's book about WWII
May 22, 2010 5:06 PM   Subscribe

What book is this? Kid's fiction set in WWII Britain, featuring a crashed german plane and a salvaged machine gun.

This is a kid's novel I remember from grade school. It is set in World War II Britain, probably on the south or east coast, and features a boy who finds a crashed german plane in the woods with a dead pilot. He salvages a machine gun from the plane and installs it in a pillbox with the fantasy of defending his town from other German planes. I think it might also have a surviving German airman from the crashed plane who the boy encounters. Anybody?
posted by werkzeuger to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Machine Gunners, I believe
posted by gregjones at 5:15 PM on May 22, 2010

Sounds like The Machine Gunners, which I think I read as a kid.
posted by jquinby at 5:15 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Definitely the Machine Gunners. One of my most memorable books and one that I have always planned to re-read.
posted by thesailor at 5:55 PM on May 22, 2010

Definitely the Machine Gunners. One of my most memorable books and one that I have always planned to re-read.

Me too, got to hunt it out again.
posted by knapah at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2010

Thanks! Man I love MetaFilter!
posted by werkzeuger at 6:57 PM on May 22, 2010

"Where you going now?"
"Where you going now?"

Here, of course!
posted by cromagnon at 8:19 PM on May 22, 2010

As the wikipedia article says, it's set in the North East of England.
posted by cushie at 8:21 PM on May 22, 2010

I so remember this! Alas too slow to add anything helpful, but this was a much loved reading favourite for small boys growing up in NE England...
posted by prentiz at 2:10 AM on May 23, 2010

Hey, I remember reading that when I was a wee tacker too.

And it gives me the opportunity to relate (in a somewhat contrived manner) the events of earlier today, since the children in the book were found by members of the Free Polish military.

My wife bought a coat from one of the local op shops (thrift stores) a few weeks ago; in one of the pockets was a wallet, full of photos from the war and identity papers belonging to a man from the Free Polish forces. From examining the papers, he'd been born in 1917, joined the Polish army in 1941 until his demob (discharge) in 1948; he'd taken the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown in 1951, and emigrated to Australia as a tradesman in 1962. In 1990, he became an Australian citizen by naturalisation.

The photos were fascinating; about 15, showing him standing in front of a line of tanks, having tea and cigarettes in a tent somewhere desert-like, and one dressed in civvies, perhaps from before his enlistment.

There aren't too many Poles living near here, so I looked up the surname in the phone book and found the only entry for the same name; calling it revealed that it was his widow. He died about a year ago, and she was pretty happy to have the photos and identity papers back.

This doesn't relate to your question, but it ties in nicely with the Free Polish troops described in a book which I'd forgotten I'd read and enjoyed as a child myself.

I'm going to see if I can find a copy. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by nonspecialist at 5:54 AM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

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