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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Monday, 27 September 2010 12:57 UK
Plaque for the Battle of Graveney in a Seasalter pub
Battle of Graveney
Soldiers of the London Irish Rifles fought the crew of a German bomber

The last-ever engagement of British troops and enemy forces on UK soil took place in Kent.

A short exchange of gunfire between soldiers of the London Irish Rifles and the crew of a German bomber, which had crashed near Whitstable, became known as the Battle of Graveney Marsh.

A plaque to commemorate the battle has been unveiled at the Sportsman Pub in Seasalter.

It is dedicated to the soldiers who were billeted at the pub.

On the night of September 27th 1940, the soldiers of the London Irish Rifles were called out to a crashed Junkers 88. This was a new version of the plane and it had been forced down in one piece by two spitfires because the British wanted to examine the technology aboard.

Saving the plane

Keen to prevent this, the German crew armed themselves with the plane's machine guns, and tried to hold off the London Irish Rifles long enough to set explosive charges on the plane to destroy it.

They only failed because Captain John Cantopher spoke German and heard them say the plane was about to go up. He bravely went back and disarmed the charge.

The Germans, one of them with a bullet wound to the foot, were then brought back to the Sportsman and were served beer while waiting to be collected.

Both sides were unaware at the time that they had just made history in staging what was to become the last engagement between British and enemy troops on UK soil.





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