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I recently discovered a german airplane was shot down over my village in Sussex on 15th Aug 1940 after raiding Croydon airfield. I’m going to explore the area when the weather improves to see if I can identify the exact spot. I am aware that a dig was carried out there some years ago so hopefully the nearby farm will know more about it. I don’t suppose you ever visited that part of the country?
Hi Simon, not been to Sussex alas, at least not looking for air crash sites.
Bf110C S9+TH at Smallbridge? Have a copy of Luftwaffe crash archive vol 2 if you need more. Hope you find the site.
HI Ian, no its the Bf-110 from Erpro210 flown by Walter Rubensdorffer (something of a bomber celebrity and CO of the specialist unit. It came down at Bletchinglye Farm, Rotherfield, East Sussex after the controversial raid on Croydon (attacked in error thinking it was Kenley and against Hitlers orders of hitting civilian targets) To make matters worse the RAF had scrambled Sqns waiting for them so in their efforts to hit and run most bombs and damage was inflicted on outlying civilian factories causing many deaths for the loss of 6no. 110’s and a 109 as well. John Vasco’s books of which I own none of! have some information and I’ve tried getting in touch with him but I’m trying all bases at the moment.
Ok, got it. God almighty, there was a lot of German aircraft lost that day (32) and in that raid alone as you say! Wish I was down south, so much history on the south coast.
Parker has a little on Bf 110D S9+AB and a bit about ErprGr210 inc a colour photo of the emblem of the British Isles in a gun sight. No identification of the spot though he notes debris was scattered over a wide area, which means a better chance of finding the right field sweeping with a metal detector though the farmer may be able to point you in the right direction. Also has portraits of both crew. Happy to get them to you if you need. Let me know how you get on?
Hi Ian, yes it was a black day for the Luftwaffe and the civilian population. But it was also the catalyst to the Germans switching priorities to London from the airfields which probably led to them eventually giving up on Sealion. Quite a few bits and pieces of chewed up metal were sold on a few auction sites a few years ago claiming to be relics from this crash. Before I knew anything about it sadly. Having read what I could from the books I have I am pretty sure I know the trajectory as the 110 had to pull up over the church before flying over the high street in front of my house (which incidentally was the Home Guard HQ/Office during the war) and the pub before hitting the ground. Apparently it already on fire and on impact it cartwheeled so a real mess and not much left after the fire was put out. There is a strange symmetry with some of this story as I also lived in Croydon before moving here.
What’s just as strangely coincidental looking at your website is that I was born in Bury and have also been to Berlin before the Wall came down where I took lots of photo’s of Die Mauer, Checkpoint Charlie and had a great time with my Dad goon baiting the East Germans in their towers. A couple of years ago I went back for a flying visit and couldn’t recognise any of it. But I have a keen interest in both places! I also am hoping to see the Sound Mirrors on the Sussex coast at some time which I thought were unique until I came across your photo’s. Great website.
Thanks Simon, I had a look at your site, stared at the word KEEPITURYENS for a few seconds before realising it was Excalibur! And then I saw a reference to Bury FC; I used to follow Bury home and away. Still watch the scores on tv, still hear myself saying, “We could make the play-offs” every time we win a game… But got fed up with travelling all the way to Leyton Orient on a Tuesday night in Deecember for an LDV vans trophy game only to get beat 4 nil but that’s football.
I didn’t know the attack on Croydon was that particular event which turned the RAF to civilian targets and in turn took the Luftwaffe away from the air bases. Very interesting stuff. Main thing I know of Croydon was the KLM air disaster.
Re; sound mirrors, I first saw them on the coast path around Dover and Folkestone, there’s loads of stuff there too. When I last walked that stretch of path I had little knowledge of them or even their age. Would love to spend some time in Kent and Sussex again, so much if interest down there for middle-aged anoraks like me.
Let me know if there’s anything you need from Parker’s book, I will have a look at another couple of resources but it does sound like you have the story of S9+AB sewn up apart from the location? Most farmers are very helpful, I find knocking on doors particularly useful, people often have photos or the odd chunk of debris and are more than willing to talk about it, even if they don’t recall it themselves, the story is often passed down.
Sucking eggs comment here, but have you been to the local library? Given the exact date, you could look at the local newspaper on microfilm for the days after 15/08/40. While it probably won’t specify the farm, there may well be a photo of the crash site which will help you find the spot. We used old photos from newspapers to help pinpoint the location of a Luftwaffe crash site on the east coast of Yorkshire last year. But if you know it came in over your house, I suspect you have already looked.
Do please let me know how you get on, be good to add a photo here or a link to your site if you add it there for anyone else searching for it.
Thanks Ian, yep Keep it Uryens catches a few people out. Its what sparked my interest in medieval history. Great film especially Helen Mirren’s armour……ahem. I also used to watch Bury mostly away games. The travelling fans were a great group and a lot of real ale drinkers so were the Camra pubs as well at places like Stockport that to be honest were never high on my must visit list. Living in Croydon I also regularly saw Palace (even play Bury which I vowed never to do again because of split loyalties) but I haven’t been to see them either since moving to Rotherfield, ironic since they are currently enjoying their most successful season ever. Getting a ticket is almost impossible unless you are a season ticket holder now.
I’m only just discovering the history of the area in more detail now as I don’t have to commute to London any more. The history of the area is quite rich with Hastings and the Norman stuff but my main interest is Wars of The Roses naturally and where I live there’s lots of evil Yorkist Neville references. At the moment though I’m focussed on more recent events. On my train to London I once counted about 20 pillboxes dotting the countryside and that started it off. We also did a few coast walks along Beachy Head (one of the RDF Chain Home stns) and more recently at a place called Cuckmere Haven (near Beachy Head) which is the estuary. A very flat meandering plain with the requisite pillboxes and dragons teeth it was a potential landing site for a German Invasion as armour would be able to move inland.
The Sound Mirrors at Greatstone on Sea have always fascinated me but access is restricted. I’m still planning on getting there sometime (I have a wonderful set of aerial photo’s my Dad took when doing his National Service as part of a weather recce for the Queens Coronation) and we’re planning a mini tour at some point to all the places photographed. Quite a bit of post WWII evidence now long gone.
I don’t know about Parkers Book so if you do have anything of interest I’d still be keen to see it. I also discovered that one of the first V2’s fired in anger exploded over Rotherfield killing 6 rabbits! and again I would love to find out more although as it blew up mid flight the debris landed all over the place with no discernible crater I suspect. We were also under the flight path of Doodle Bug alley. My main research at the moment is Battle of Britain stuff though as you can imagine there’s lots of stories about the time, loads of records of jettisoned bombs especially. On the local library point I am seeing the Verger tomorrow who knows the history of the village well and she also hopefully will be able to put me intouch with the local historian. Then if its not already been done I’ll probably try to do a local article for the parish magazine and then a proper on-line one too. The farm I think is a private residence now no longer working and looks very affluent with tennis courts and such so I’ll probably post a letter first before turning up and doffing my cap. Anyway if there is anything in that book that you think would help then please let me know or email me.
Hi Simon, I will take this conversation onto e-mail you, will drop you a line tonight or tomorrow with what I have. Will also look at those other resources, might be something else in one or two other books I have.
“so Iâ€™ll probably post a letter first before turning up and doffing my cap” made me laugh. Before now have pitched up at posh looking farms in Cheshire and have received no reply when I knocked on, even though there were two Range Rovers in the driveway and a TV on in the kitchen. Must’ve thought I was trying to sell something. Usually have my camera slung about my neck and wear a fairly smart jacket to appear presentable but yes, a letter would go a long way!
Will be in touch with more soon.
On August 30th 1940 a Heinkel 111 Group Markings A1_CL Crashed in Lifstan Way Southend On Sea,Essex 3 Crew Died and a Lady Died while Tripping over and Passed Away Going to hER Anderson Shelter , Iam Trying to Find Out What Happened To The Pilot Helmut Gall(uterofizier)? He Survived.One Crew Member May have Be mis identified.
Will take a look at what I have in my books, get back to you if I find anything. Maybe someone might see this and get in touch if they have any info. Have you tried on the forums?
Hello Ian Thank you for the Reply Iam Looking at going to take a Metal Detector over to the site though I may not find anything.
Also iam Curious about a Plane a Junkers 88A-5840 Which Came Down 13th August 1942 Shot Down By BS squadron Pilots Sullivan And Skeel, Freidrich was a Junkers crew Member I cant find nothing on the internet but I Have Bid on a Part from the Junkers On ebay
if You want to with a Metal Detector I would like to Do a Few bomb Sites in Essex if you Wish to Take Part One at Runwell Hospital Wickford and A few at Southend.as I Can do with Someone More exp With me.
Hi Paul, couldn’t anything re; your first enquiry. Good luck with the search on the ground, be interested to see if you locate any signal patterns with a metal detector sweep. You are at the opposite end of the country to me, am Manchester way. But where you are is an area rich in WWII history of course.
Hi Paul Marshall,
I can provide you with many details of Pilot HELMUT GALL!
My father was a POW in Canada with Helmut Gall.
My mother knew Helmut’s future wife Crystal.
I was introduced to the Gall family as a teenager.
I knew Helmut’s daughter and corresponded with her.
Helmut’s daughter later married.
If I can make contact with you perhaps I can share paragraphs of details with you.
Hi thankyou a very brave man by the sound of it glad was treated ok.couldn’t find nothing on records regarding the gentleman.I think he was Essen based nice to hear he got to see his family
Has Been a long time since reading any posts have you any photography of Mr Gall ? not a lot of info on the crew on Lufftwafe sites ,Hope your well.
I know it is a long time since you wrote for help. I have an entry in a ‘crash diary’ that says exactly this…
361/W/N5532 HE111 30-8-40 17.15 Next Line…3/KG53 A1 + JL (J in yellow) Lifstan Way Southend Next Line… 2xPOW,bailed out 3xkilled uterofizierPilot- Helmut Gall. I can send image of this if you can get me an email address. 🙂 I doubt it helps any but you can see if you wish.
Ju 88 shot down by two Hurricanes, resulting in its crash near Winchester, Hants, in Battle of Britain. Any photos and details, of the Ju 88squadron and of the Hurricanes etc.? (Hurricanes possibly from MIddle Wallop?). Ju crew survived a good belly landing a few miles to the east, south-east of Winchester.
I am an aviation artist (davidmarshallaviation art.com) and want to paint the scene, which I witnessed.
Hi David, do you know the date it happened?
Thanks for your reply D B. Unfortunately I have no idea about the date though I fancy it could have been early September.
Good luck and thanks again ( If I can get more info I want to do a painting of it).
I’m struggling. Do you have the year? Wasn’t near the village of Twyford by any chance?
Twyford is not far, so it could be the the location of the the crash site. I am trying to get in touch with local newspapers to see what they have in their archives.
I will keep you posted.
It could be Ju88 L1 + BM which was shot down at Hazeley Down at Twyford at 1800 on 15 August 1940 by a fighter of 601 squadron (at the time they were flying Hurricanes though one forum entry on line mentions the Ju88 being shot down by a Spitfire).
It would be good if this is your aircraft as there are a lot of photos of it on the ground, even some cine footage in existence. I could copy across some photos if you think this is the one? The details here are from Luftwaffe Crash Archive Volume 2 by Nigel Parker, published by Red Kite Books, 2013.
I’m new to these sites but wonder if anyone can help me. On March 2nd 1944 at 0315hrs a Heinkel He 177 bomber was shot down and crashed in or around Hammerwood in West Sussex. I have gleaned a lot of information but what is missing is the exact crash site location. Apparently the aircraft disintegrated so the debris will have been spread out over a wide area but I suspect the majority of the debris landed in one compact place.
A second request concerns a crash site perhaps 1Â½ miles away at Old Surrey Hall quite close to East Grinstead where a Lancaster crashed. I don’t have date or squadron or outbound mission and station of departure. I believe all crew bailed out but if anyone has information I’d be grateful to receive it. Thanks
I suspect you know more than most people. The only information I have on the crash is from After the Battle The Blitz Vol 3 giving Hammer Wood as the crash site and a photograph of 2 bobbies with the tailplane wreckage but its impossible to tell where the crash site is from the image. Have you tried Pat Burgess’s Bombers over Sussex?
Thank you for that info. I’ll cut and paste your reply into a cuttings file for further research later. In fact I think I’ve also seen the pic you mention with the two bobbies holding parts of the debris. For 12 years or so I lived right next door to the little hamlet of Hammerwood and never knew of the crash! Likewise, I used to bicycle to friends in Hammerwood along a long disused driveway to Hammerwood Park (large mansion) and believe I probably rode over the runway of an advanced landing airstrip, with out any knowledge until 45 years later!! Anthony
Similar story here. Researching a German crash from the Battle of Britain (the one at the top of this thread) I only just discovered last week that a man remembered on the war dead in the parish church is a Battle of Britain pilot. I’ve been to countless remembrance services and never knew!
Sorry I forgot to mention, I assume you have the information on the mosquito and both crews He177 and Mossie from the action. That is the only other part detailed in After the Battle book
Thanks for your two messages. It’s amazing what’s on our doorstep without us realising it! Yes thanks, I’ve found out a lot of information on both aircraft from the web but it’s the crash location site which is causing me frustration!
Does anyone have any information on a German plane that supposedly crashed at Little England Farm near Withernsea, Yorkshire on the night of 17 March 1945?
Sounds like you have got the right Ju 88. I would love to see some pics of it. I thought of getting in touch with the Southern Daily Echo newspaper to see if they covered fit. The local Hampshire Chronicle rarely if ever published photos but no doubt carried a story.
Fascinating stuff, this! I have only recently started going back through those amazing years. Aeroplanes everywhere. Lots of “Queen Marys” (long low-loaders) with bits and pieces aircraft on them ( I once saw a very flash, brand new Spitfire of a very late mark, on one. It must have belly-anded somewhere south of Winchester and was probably a prototype that flew from Supermarines at Eastleigh airport near Southampton.
I also saw a Do 217e drop eight bombs, in two tight drops, on Winchester. I was on my way to school when it emerged right above me at about 800ft from a low nimbus that clagged everything in. Of the four bombs that landed in the city itself, all rolled around the streets and never exploded except one: it killed my wife’s schoolfriend. The bombs just missed the railway station and I had a wonderful top 3/4 view of the aircraft as it turned after off-loading its bombs and flew south beneath the cloud layer.
I also saw a Ju88 being shot down right over head at about 900ft. Went to see it straight away of course and it had done a fine belly landing; its engines were till “ticking” from the heat when I got to it. All the crew were ok. but, I believe, wounded.
I am 86 but I still paint aviation pictures and never fail to look up when anything flies near me.
I got my RAF wings at Ternhill in 1950.
I now live in Sydney. And took up soaring for a few years, collecting my silver, gold and diamond badges.
I believe I gave my website before, but just in case here it is again!
Hi Dave, good to hear from you again. Am a bit tied up with work but will see if I can get some more detail and photos to you next week.
No problems. Happy to wait.
I remember visiting the he 111 on Cairnsmore of fleet. One mountain with 8 aircraft crashes on it. Whilst looking through the wreckage of the he 111 we came across an integrated circuit! Quickly realised it was from the USAF phantom that crashed in the 1970s, almost in the same place as the Heinkel, 30 years later. The engine now lies in the museum at Dumfries airfield.
Does anyone have information of a Heinkel which crashed in the north Cumbria area near to Steel road / Blackpoolgate location which is Bewcastle parish
known to have been damaged on a raid to Glasgow
Hello. I have a photograph of a German aircraft which apparently crashed in Sunbury UK WW2. The picture shows part of the fuselage, the fin and the tail-plane. My Grandmother is standing by the aircraft and two children sitting on the tail-plane. My cousin just recently sent me this picture from the UK the original was on some sort of postcard. He seems to think the crash was at Heath-croft Road Sunbury, by the Post office. Is there any way I can send the photograph to you for your perusal and comments. Thanks very much.
You could scan the photo or take a photo of it with a phone and email me and I will add it here, see if I or anyone can provide more info. Do you have the date or approx date the photo was taken?
Hi Ken, here is your photo about which other people might be able to advise further. As mentioned in email, there is one internet source with a similar photo which states this was probably taken around early November 1940 at Botwell Green and that it is a He-111 (which it clearly is) that had been shot down and put on display. If I find out anything further, I will drop you a line.
my Father has a photo of himself standing on the tail of that aircraft as well
So we know roughly when this was. Was it 1940 by any chance. I only ask as our house in Burgoyne road was flattened by a rogue bomb in 1940 killing the family inside. Wonder if this was the plane ?!?
I am trying to find any information on a german plane that crashed on Combe Hill, Berkshire. My grand father was in the home guard and was apparently first on the scene with his bucket of sand for the ammo.
Hi Kay, any idea of the date, or even just the year?
Think I have found it Kay, details from page linked below;
1st November 1943
This German bomber was attacked by a Mosquito from 29 Squadron crewed by Flight Lieutenant S. F. Hodsman and Warrant Officer A. F. Monger. The German pilot and at least one other member of his crew had been killed by machine gun fire from the Mosquito. At about 6:30pm, after flying low over cottages in the village of West Woodhay, it struck Walbury Hill about 100 feet from the top. After uprooting two trees it bounced four times along the ground and broke into many pieces, which were spread over an area of about half-a-mile. All four members of the bomber’s crew were killed and at least two of the bodies were taken to Hungerford and placed in the mortuary of the town’s psychiatric hospital.
Obelt. H. Schmid
Oberfw. B. Krupp
St. Fw. E. Zuch
Uffz. J. Koidl
Thank you so much. I wish my family had a camera. I’ve never been able to find photos of the crash site even though it sounds like the wreckage was strewn around. They did wonder why Combe,a tiny tiny village had the occasional bomb dropped. They did wonder if it may have been the gibbet being confused with some sort of aerial or radar or if it was just confusion to where they were or if even they had just overshot London which was only 60 miles away. Thank you for the info. I will search to see if I can find any photos of the crew. That happened the day before my mum’s 8th birthday. I bet that took the excitement away from her!
Hi my dad and i went detecting on the site in the 70’s with his friend Tom who as a kid took home a reem of cannon shell the police came and took them away we dug up machine shells and i got a chrome door handle with the perspex still on it the oak tree which it topped off is no longer there and there was a huge gouge on the ridge by the gibbet now filled in. Tom has no passed away
HI I thought it was the other side of the village not actually by the gibbet? I remember in the 1970s a helicopter crashing up at the gibbet as well. I’m sure both pilot and passenger were killed. My mum and brothers and sister had the joystick (if that’s the right word) and used to play with it. It will still be in their den I suppose! Are there any maps that would pinpoint it clearer?
Hi Guys.. I have a German tool pouch taken ( i think) from a crashed JU88 near London, a gentleman named Ray Woodyatt gave it to me some 35 years ago as he was in the RAF ground crew. The number on the pouch is 088 1692, So if anyone has any idea or further info on this item, i would be very interested to hear.
Wonder if anyone can help with this.
There was a German aircraft, 109 (I think) that was in a school playing field in Edmonton, North London. I saw it when I was around 5 years old (around 1945) if memory serves me correct it looked as though it had made a wheels up landing and the propeller was well bent.
Hi, I was at Goudhurst earlier today with my father. He told me of a crashed German plane that came down at Swan farm. He says he remembers it in the fifties when he was young and went hop picking. I just wondered does anyone have any information about the plane and possibly a picture? I would love to see it.
Will take a look Adam. Don’t suppose you know when in the war it came down?
I’m afraid I don’t, my dad said it was a fighter but wasn’t sure, he remembers it sat in boggy ground, that looked like a small copse or wood between two fields today.
I shall take a look Adam, might be a week or so before am able to though, not at home at present.
I can you are going through the same excitement as I am concerning stories of the Battle of Britain … My story is to be found somewhere below similar to yours but on a different kentish Hop farm …. I am about to ask Ian D B if he can find the time to cross reference my story with the plane that shot the bf 109 down and who was flying the R A F plane that day and if it was subsequently shot down and if it’s engine is the one on display at The battle of Britain Museum at “Hawkinge” I am getting right into this now and enjoying the intrigue as much as you are… but I am a dead loss at computer skills and do not posses the know how as to how to cross reference these crashes,,, Ian D B doesn’t know it yet but I am about to ask him to see if he can conclude the full picture for me… ‘ my story is further down the pages…. take care and happy hunting Ray Hill Theydon bois Essex Ps if you haven’t yet visited the Battle of Britain Museum please do so it is truly inspiring and fascinating… ….. email@example.com
My email address is now firstname.lastname@example.org
hi Adam.. I have replied to your enquiry on the wrong page i have inadvertently sent it to Ian D B by mistake… I cannot help you with your specific enquiry but you might like to read my story of a very similar experience to yours ( somewhere below )
Finally pinned down KG76 Dornier Do17 F1+AT (15 Sep 1940) crash location and snaps taken. This has taken nearly 18 months and was a challenge to say the least compared to the other German crash in the Parish.
Next up 2 RAF fighters from the same campaign 1940
Great stuff. Feel free to add your photos etc here if you wish or add a link to your page?
Thank you . Do you know where I could view pictures of the plane?
This little story May interest someone who knows about the Mesersmitt BF 109 that crashed in a field at Hurst Farm near Mountain St Chilham Kent on 1 st September 1940 after being engaged by RAF fighters over Thanet during an air battle … My mother was walking back to the hop fields on Hurst Farm when the BF 109 crashed a few hundred yards away. She was first on the scene but nothing could be done… She sat on a nearby gate and sobbed for half an hour – even though it was a German plane.. I am trying to seek more info abut this particular crash. I have read the story in the ” Battle of Britain then and now ” book. But I am sure there is more info available. Has anyone read up on this particular crash and maybe provide extra info to me …. I often gravitate to the crash sight when I visit Chilham to reminisce about the hop picking days. I was there on that fateful day. But in my mothers tummy. I was born 2 months later at burton on trent as my mother was evacuated there fromEast London I am still fascinated all these years later …. A little white wooden cross was placed at the crash site by the hop pickers… It as there for many years …. Ray Hill. Essex…
PS..Re story by me above 109 crash at chilham Kent on 1st Sept 1940. Anyone interested in this story can find the pictures and info on pages 614 616 and 617 of the (Battle of Britain then and now book) Also a photo of the wreckage and photo of pilot. On page 617 there is a written passage to be found on the pages next to the pictures on previous page page 614 shows the funeral that took place after the pilot was brought up and buried … In 1977…
PS My new email address is email@example.com Re Ray Hill – ME 109 story Hurst Farm Kent (above )
My email address is now firstname.lastname@example.org
I have purchased an aircraft panel piece on ebay. This proports to be from a ME109E shot down on Dunkirk Kent on Monday 23rd Sept 1940. The panel has ME109 Dunkirk Kent 23rd Sept 1940 painted on it. The seller advised that his friends father had been a boy in 1940 & had probably scrounged the part after the crash. Might anyone have further data. I believe on 23rd Sept 1940 the Luftwaffe sent over 200 ME109’s in the morning, that were intercepted by various Hurricanes & Spitfires. Much concentrated air fighting with 10 ME109 shot down, plus 6 probables, with further 4 damaged. That’s all that I have. Sorry. I am looking to find the data for the ME109, pilot name, staffel etc. Thank you.
Half a dozen 109’s shot down in the area on this day
Could be one of these
4/JG2 2+- off Folkestone Pier piloted by Uff Frederich Dilthey
JG3 in the English Channel pilot Hptm Willi Hopp
7/JG3 3+1 Kingsdown Sth of Deal pilot Uff Karl Elbing
8/JG26 4+1 Isle of Grain pilot Uff Arnold Kupper
8/JG26 9+1 Biddenden pilot Fw Gerhard Grsymalla
3/JG54 5+ bBroome Farm Barham Pilot Ofw Helmut Knippscher
I have just been to the battle Of Britain museum and found it very ‘eerie ,but extremely informative and a must ‘do’ for any people wishing to seek information on the Battle of Britain..
knowing that my mother on the 1st of september 1940 was within 100 yards of the Mersersmitt bf 109 as it crashed to the ground at Mountain st Chilham kent taking Ekkehard Schelcher to his death.. It was eerie to think that I was standing beside the engine of that plane 75 years later !! both me and my mother had been as close to the engine of the doomed 109 but 75 years apart and under different circumstances… my family told me that my mother had been walking along Mountain St as the plane come hurtling down and buried itself in the muddy ground of the farmers field.. she had rushed over and on realising that there was nothing she could do she sat on a nearby farm gate and cried for half an hour at the sight of someones death thee fact that it was ‘ enemy ‘ made no difference at that moment it was tragic that someone had died in front of her.. It affected her for many years we would often return to Chilham to see the hop fields and she always reminisced about that fateful day and would go to the crash site and just stare at the ground… Her brother teddy made a small cross out of some broken fencing and painted it white Thy had taken it to the very spot where the plane come down and it was there for many years i am sorry if this letter repeats some of my earlier info in above post (above ) But I have always been interested in what took place because it ‘ involved ‘ my family as much as it involved someones young son…
It is always a pleasure to hear accounts such as yours Ray, thank you for adding your mother’s story.
thank you Ian DB for achnowledging my story… I know it cannot be achieved at this late time (75 years on) But I would have loved to have been able to let his German parents know that he was not alone in those faateful last moments and that a british Mother was close by and sobbed for the loss of that dear son of theirs…
German bf 109 Pilot Ekkehard Schelcher was over Thanet Kent on that fateful day having flown from his base near Calase (He belonged to the ‘Green heart ‘ squadron) He was engaged by R A F planes over thanet and ( presumably ) had been trying to get home across Kent to his airbase in calase ( just thirty miles away) when his plane come down on Hurst Farm I often wonder if it was his plane that had been dammaged or wether he had also been injured and unable to control his plane… !! We will never know … perhaps just a detail of a bygone historical Battle of Britain incident.. There were so many terrible tragedies during those months… I could not believe my eyes at some of the ‘acounts’ of the battle that I saw at the Museum… at ” Hawkinge ” Lastly my Friend who accompanied me Think’s that he saw the Engine on display of the plane that had shot the bf109 down which had itself been attacked four days later over kent and come down taking a young British Pilot to his death … How sad that – if so – Both Engins of both planes sit close to each other at the Battle of Britain Museum todaay 75 years on.. Kind regards Ray Hill
………email@example.com……… Theydon Bois Essex any aditional info would be gretely received ….
Hi Ray, I have the full set of Lufwaffe crashes in ww2 by red hill books, I did find the 109 crash that you refer to in Volume 2 of my books, amazing that your mother witnessed the whole thing, it would have been certain to have a profound affect on her.
And uncanny that the engine is in the RAF Battle of Britain museum, it was almost like your mother was meant to be there giving the pilot his last comforts, wonderful to hear it all.
With all best regards.
KIETH…Thanks for your Acknowledgement of my story about the ME109 crash and my Mother who was nearly hit by the crashing ME109…. My Email address is now firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you do get my reply I hadn’t seen your reply I have just come across it of late…
Hi Keith If you are ever over here in England I would like to meet you in The village of Chilham Kent ( near Canterbury ) Beautiful Village we could have lunch and spend some time chatting about those days during WW2 The crash site is just down a little lane close to the village I had sent you an email but got no reply Dont know if it arrived safely ?
Hello again Ray, I just recieved your last two emails, Iv’e been looking but must have missed them, it’s a great story about you Mother’s experience and I would dearly love to meet up with you, but sadly I have a condition in my legs (Neuropathy) and can hardly walk and my flying days are over, I know I’m missing out but that’s life I guess, my last trip was 2014. Take care and all the best, keep in touch. Best regards Keith.
Thanks for your reply Keith, You would enjoy the day out We could go by car so no problem with your leg problem We could also visit the Battle of Britain Museum 11 miles away where the remains of the ME 109 are, Sorry for delay in writing back Would like to meet you if you ever come over again … Ps Take a look at the nearby village ( Chilham ) Kent Near Canterbury It’s all on the internet …. Best regards from Ray Hill and Sue..
Hi again Keith Just re read your post again and now realise that you wont be coming over, Sorry to hear about your leg problem very best regards from Ray Hill Take care, and best regards to your family,
My father used to tell me of a German fighter coming down! He said he & a friend, both in the army were having dinner together when they heard the plane was in trouble, they looked up the road as it hit the steeple of a church, they raced up to where the plane was on fire in a field & managed to get the pilot out! The pilot told them he was sorry & didn’t want to fight but was made too! Then died. This was in WW 2 in Kent. I wonder if this could be the same pilot.
We lived in Grovesner Ave, Chatham, Kent. But I wasn’t born till 1948. Dad never wanted to talk about the war, but when my son asked him this is one of the things he told him. I just wish I had a recorder at the time.
We came to Australia in 1955.
Margret if you are referring to my story above ( Ray Hill story Hurst farm crash ) i doubt that it was the same crash nor the same plane As the German ME109 plane that crashed on Hurst Farm near Chilham kent Did not hit a church spire But come down as a direct result of being shot down by RAF fighters over Thanet Kent ..
Hello Magaret, thank you for your story of the German fighter crash and what the pilot said to your father, Magaret, they were all young men on both sides and not all of them wanted it, it’s such a shame that so many died.
I was very young boy living in Oxford during the war and dont remember much except for the noise of the German bombers going over (Born 1939) and searchlights. co-incidentaly I too now live in Australia.
Warm Regards, Keith Williams.
Very comprehensive and well researched, good read and some excellent images as well bring it all to life. I found site looking for information on a downed German bomber somewhere in Neath marshes during Swansea blitz and talked about by local people at the time but i have failed to back up the story told to me a few years ago. Anyone know details or more precise location? Just interested in local history and filling gaps. RR
Thanks Rob, will take a look in the books I have. Any idea as to the date it came down?
I thought I’d ask here as apparently the crash is mentioned in Vol 2 Luftwaffe Crash Archives as well as Andy Saunders “Finding the Foe” (Chapter 8)
60024/67 FF Obergefr Gerhard FREUDE 14.10.18 Koslitz, Luben
60024/4 BO Oberlt Max-Dankwart BIRKENSTOCK 16.12.15 Neustettin, Stettin
60024/64 BF Uffz Rudolf SCHULZE 29.9.19 Liegnitz
60024/79 BS Gefr Franz BECKER 18.1.19 Hurth, Koln
Max-Dankwart Birkenstock was the Bomb aimer, Freude was the pilot, Schulze was the radio operator/upper gunner and Becker was the rear gunner (usually in the under fuselage gondola, facing aft) are reported killed.
Serial number of the plane and individual code (B3+?H) is not known, but if parts of it can be found, there is always chance serial might be found on a component or a part plate. Time and place of crash is given “Kings Somborne 14:15 hrs”.
21 August 1940: 1./KG54 Junkers Ju 88 A-1. Shot down by 2 Spitfires (flown by Sqdn Ldr J.S. Oâ€™Brien and Pilot Officer R.F.T. “Bob” Doe) of No.234 Squadron, during an armed reconnaissance over southern England. Jettisoned its bombs but crashed in flames and burned out at Kingâ€™s Somborne at about 2.15 p.m.
Oberleutnant Max-Dankwart Birkenstock,
Obergefreiter Gerhard Freude,
Unteroffizier Rudolf Schulze, and
Gefreiter Franz Becker all missing. Aircraft 100% write-off.
On 22 August 4 unidentified Germans were buried in Chartham cemetery, near Manston, Kent.
234 Sqdn was in 10 Group and based at Middle Wallop. There is a photograph of some RAF pilots making their way back across a mustard field after looking at the smouldering wreckage. Bob Doe is reported as saying the crash site was strewn with blood stained bandages.
Manston was 11 Group, so were the known crew and perhaps documents etc taken away for scrutiny by 11 Group (perhaps Luftwaffe maps/routes or other “useful” information, cameras and films?) by Army truck on 21st and after these were removed, 11 Group was left with the task of burying the (now unknown) airmen, which they did on 22nd August 1940 in Grave O74. At least one other Luftwaffe pilot, Alfred Hoffman was also buried here in September.
When Cannock Chase was set up, Alfred was removed, as were these 4, now buried in Block 9 Grave 48 as Unknown Germans killed 22nd August (actually the date of burial in Chartham) and NOT 21st August.
Is there anything in Vol 2 Luftwaffe crash Archives or elsewhere in your records that ties in with anything of this?
Thanks for looking
Hi Kevin will take a look and get back to you in a couple of days if no-one else does.
Parker has it that the aircraft took off from St Andre, the target being Brize Norton. Brought down by a Spitfire after having dropped 6 delayed action bombs. Says the aircraft crashed on fire and was completely smashed. There is a photo of Gefr Becker and the photo you mention? A scene with about 20 men in it, the smouldering wreckage which appears strewn across the field. Parker says the unit was identified from an ID disc and that the “remains of the airmen are reported to have been removed from the site of the crash immediately after the event, but their subsequent fate is an enduring mystery.” Also mentions the monument erected in 1951.
Nothing in my other books. I noticed a recent comment and replies on pprune, take it that is you?
good luck in identifying their final resting places.
Thanks, yes, that’s me on PPRuNe (and a few other sites) trying to see if anyone can provide a reason for them to have been taken from King’s Somborne (where the vicar had offered to have them buried) and then “lost”.
I refuse to accept they would not have been buried without due regard, and the 4 unidentified ones were buried in Chartham the next day. But 234 were in 10 Group, so why buried in 11 Groups area?
There doesn’t seem to ba any other 4 man crew unaccounted for on 21/22 August on land, so where did the 4 in Chartham come from, if not King’s Somborne – but obviously I need a definite link for authorities to accept these men are the Ju 88 crew.
When you say “other books” does that include Luftwaffe Crash Archives Vol 2?
Chartham cemetery also contained the grave of A Hoffman, Luftwaffe, killed 15 September, so it was used for Luftwaffe burials, but there was an Alfred Hoffman and also an Andreas Hoffman both killed on 15 September and I don’t know which one was in Chartham before Cannock.
Any clues as to where both men came down, hopefully not on Manstons doorstep!
If he also came from a crash many miles away, that might show Chartham accepted burials from some distance away, thus reinforcing (but not proving beyond doubt) the 4 COULD be from Hampshire.
Appreciate your help.
I live close to kings sombourne and speaking with an elderly resident whilst out walking the dog, she said that rumours at the time were that some crew survived but were ‘taken care of’ by local farmwokers!
Pls does anyone know of a German pilot called Helwick Keplian (or similar as the K & H might not be correct) who might have crashed in Kent during WW2 ???
Is there a list of such names somewhere ???
Do you know what sort of aircraft he was flying? The Nachtjagd diary books list pilots and what happened to them. I only have volume 2 and I can find no one of that name, including phonetic variations.
Cannot see anything in Volume 1 either. If you have an idea of the date of the crash Mick that would help.
Does anyone have information about a German plane that crashed at Saddlescombe, just north of Brighton, Sussex? I went there on my bicycle with a friend a couple of days afterwards. There was almost nothing left apart from burned bushes just below the roadside. I got a piece of metal with a few screws. The thing I remember clearly was the smell of rotting flesh and the little grey strips
hanging from the bushes. We did not stay there very long.
Hi Gerald, there was a German bomber which crashed at Poynings Spring, Saddlescombe on the night of 1 June 1941. I have a couple of photos from a book which I can share with you, plus some details of the crew and their mission and the crash if it sounds like the right one?
The photos show quite a bit of debris remaining, though if the crash was close to a road as you say, then it is likely the remains were cleared. In the photos you can see bits of debris hanging from the trees.
Please let me know if you’d like more info? If this does not sound right, do you have an idea as to the date? Or if can you be more precise with regards the location as there were a good few air crashes in the area. For example, an RAF Hurricane crashed close by on 9 September 1940, though Polish pilot survived that one. Though there are others, e.g. a Luftwaffe air crash at Bramber. Do let me know.
I do not know if the site I visited was called Poynings Spring. Unfortunately I am not sure of the date. I do remember that when I went there, it was a warm summer’s day. I used to keep a diary, but am not sure if I sill have any from the War years.
I clearly recall that the crash site was close to the road at Saddlescombe, facing the deep Devils Dyke valley and the hill beyond.
I would like to see the book you mention. Is it available?
There was also a He111 that came down at Ewes Bottom, Patcham near to Saddlescombe on 8 May 42.
This one was shot down by a Beaufighter setting the countryside on fire with a spectacular light display when the high tension cables were hit. The aircraft was spread over a wide area as were the crew who were subsequently buried in Bear’s rd cemetery. There is a photo of the tailplane the only recognisable part in The Blitz T&N#3
It looks as if you have found the one I saw as a boy, two days after the event. By the time I got there, most of the bits of the aircraft had been removed. The thing that I remember very clearly was the smell of rotting flesh – the little grey strips hanging from the bushes round the site.
The crash is mentioned in Blitz over Sussex by Burgess & Saunders from Middleton Press. It was published in 1994 and states that parts of the aircraft are/were still being discovered in the fields and hedgerows where the bomber crashed even then. The book is part of a 3 volume set and not too expensive that briefly details all the known wartime crashes in the county as well as some of the V weapon incidents. Lots of photographs, a couple from this crash, the one I mentioned in the other book of the tailplane guarded by a bobby and observed by a few onlookers and another of a memorial card printed for the family of one of the crew, Uff. Wilhelm Markl. The rest of the crew were Lt R Oepen, Uff. J. Luksch, Uff F Kuttner and Uff Driessen. The bomber was an He111H-6 serial 6N+HR which crashed at 2.55am.
For interest Andy Saunders is doing a talk on oddities of the Battle of Britain this month with the Lewes Military History Soc. that I hope to go along to. I assume it will cover Sussex in a bit more detail.
The Beaufighter that claimed the Heinkel was from 219 Sqn piloted by Sqn ldr John Groves with Fg Off Horace Walter William Berridge the air gunner. They ere veterans of the Battle of Britain when flying Blenheim IF’s and by all accounts a deadly night fighting ace team who claimed over a dozen enemy aircraft. Both survived the war and were decorated.
I am sure Ian might have a bit more detail of the crash if he owns the relevant volume of the Luftwaffe Crash Archive series which I do not (yet). The authors of this series might also have some more information if you try them directly (combat reports, constabulary reports etc). Simon Parry has been of invaluable assistance to me regarding my own research of aircraft downed in my parish and might be able to shed some more light on the crash although as it did not happen during The Battle of Britain I don’t know whether he has as much information to hand.
May 42; explains why I didn’t see it, I only have Volumes 1 – 8 at present, need to update my library. Good stuff Simon, thank you for adding this.
Thanks for your encouraging response. I have a copy of “Blitz over Sussex 1941-42” but cannot find any reference to a German aircraft crashing at Saddlescombe. As a boy I visited the site two days after the event with a schoolfriend and found a small piece of metal with a screw. The hawthorn bushes around the site were burned with little grey strips hanging from the branches. The smell of rotting human flesh drove us away pretty quickly.
My problem is that I do not remember which year that was. I do recall that the weather was warm and sunny on the day of my visit. No crash at Saddlescombe is shown on the maps in either of the first two books by Burgess and Saunders.
Many thanks for your helpful reply. I have ordered a copy of the book through Amazon and am also awaiting a chat with the Saddlescombe National Trust people who may have some more information. I will let you know what transpires.
Hello again Gerald. The detail is from page 30 bottom left hand side paragraph “On the night of the 8th May” etc, the photographs are on page 32. Ewe(s) Bottom near Patcham I believe is less than a mile east-south-east of Saddlescombe, the rural area bordered by the A23 & A27, accessible from Braypool Lane. As the wreckage was spread over a wide area it is possible that parts were discovered at Saddlescombe.
I have looked at the maps again Gerald. If that He111 is not the one you were thinking of then maybe Ian’s original suggestion of the Ju88 that was shot down at Poynings Spring Saddlescombe is the one after all. I note you said you went there on you bicycle and found a few bits of twisted metal. Page 47 of Blitz over Sussex details the incident. It also says “the Ju88 attracted its usual horde of sightseers and souvenir hunters causing the police some embarrassment when 2 machine guns were taken…….Five youths were seen CYCLING from the scene, one with a heavy sack and another with a machine gun strapped to his back. If they avoided discovery one wonders where those souvenirs are today!” Now I’m wondering………
The crash spot is identified as B13 on Map B on Page 9. Near to Devils Dyke where a Spit also crashed, the pilot successfully baling out.
Your comments are appreciated. I think the aircraft was the one mentioned at page 47 of “Blitz over Sussex 1941-42”. The site was definitely at the dip in the Saddlescombe Road opposite to the track up to the farm, where the hillside drops away towards the Devils Dyke. Yes, there must have been a crowd of souvenir hunters on the first day. Unfortunately I only managed to get there two days later, by which time the site had been cleared of most bits of the ‘plane. I did not see anything like a machine gun!
Now I am trying to find where the two members of the aircrew were buried. Does anyone out there know?
Hats off to Ian for making the initial suggestion. The 2 crew who died are both buried at the German Soldatenfriedhof, Cannock Chase. I have visited here as many Battle of Britain German airmen are buried there alongside hundreds of others. It’s well worth a trip. Cannock Chase was selected as the German Military Cemetary as the terrain most features German “splinter” countryside (also why their aircraft are camouflaged in such a way as oppose the RAF’s more wavy British lines.
Here is a link to more detail of the action and the men’s resting place. Again Simon Parry has helped this website, he might have scans of contemporary reports if you contact him.
Not a good copy, but this is a photo of the Ju88 site.
I was sent from London to Seaford during the V1 strikes in 1944 or maybe early 45, but 44 I think There was a german aircraft crash landed beside the road adjacent to the beach that we passed many times. my memory is a bit foggy now but I think maybe similar to a Me 110. Do you have any data on crashes in this area I can follow up as it is something from my past I have frequently thought about. Anything welcome especially if any photos
Hi Roy, I will take a look in the books I have, though unfortunately those detailing Luftwaffe crash sites mostly cover the earlier war years. But I will have a look and add anything further I find.
Just Googling round, I found a query on a message board from 6 years ago where a query was posted. The replies seem to be about a crash at Friston, and I found another referring to a Luftwaffe crash at Seaford Golf Club. And there is a reference to a German aircraft being shot down in the sea at Seaford but not found anything yet matching your description.
Thank you for your response, I am amazed that there is this type of info collated somewhere. Maybe I am wrong about Me110, but I distinctly remember the markings, sure of 2 engines (not Ju88) and it looks like it made a fairly successful wheels up landing-crash. anyway your efforts much appreciated When I say Seaford, we were sent to
called Annacey, which I have since found out is now apartments, but as young children we were taken for walks from there which means the crash was within relative walking distance of there .
ok thanks, makes it easier to see which side of the town.
My mother told me when I was a child that when I was born in Farnborough Hospital 26th August 1942 a ‘doodlebug’ either hit the hospital or exploded nearby. Can anyone verify this incident?
I have recently purchased an original HE111 photo which proports to be a line of of aircraft in France at the beginning of the Battle of Britain. Might you please advise me of your email address so that I can forward you a copy of the back and front of the photo. I am interested in trying to establish where the picture was taken and if these are KG54 aircraft. I believe KG54 did operate HE111’s before migrating over to JU88’s. It’s the writing in the middle of the back that I cannot identify. So wonder if you might be able to assist. Thank You.
Hi Neil, happy to take a look and compare with what I have in books etc.
My elderly father was evacuated to laindon essex and remembers a German bomber maybe a dornier being persued by a hurricane at rooftop level.
The plane was shot down and he remembers the polish hurricane pilot visiting later to apologise for frightening the locals !
My father and pals managed to gather souvenirs before being chased away by the home guard.
Interestingly he remembers when the site was cleared they failed to remove both engines which sunk in the mud.
He took me to the site in the sixties and its now a public park and as far as we know are still buried there.
I’m visiting him for xmas so will try and get more info from him.
I was just wondering if there was a society or similar who may be interested in this possible untouched site.
Yours sincerely stuart.
Hi Stuart, thank you for your comment. Interesting to read of your dad’s memories of this crash.
If you could ask him the date and location, I may be able to provide you with more information.
Was the crash at Laindon or somewhere in Basildon or at Southend? I know of one German air crash at Laindon, a Messerschmitt Bf-110 which came down at Kennel Lane (the reference I am looking at says this is at Laindon Common). The date of this crash is 7 September 1940 – there were a great many German aircraft shot down that day.
I saw no detail about a Polish Hurricane pilot, what I have is reference to it being shot down by Spitfires and the crew bailed out.
There is a photo which may help if your dad says this sounds right. If not, as I say, some further detail as to the approximate date or the year or even the time of year would help, and of course anything further as to the location.
Many thanks for your prompt reply Ian. As said will visit dad over xmas so will try and extract more information.
Obviously stories get distorted over time !
Will reply as soon as poss. Thanks again, have a good Xmas. Stuart.
I see your post Laindon Common was Terrance webster involved in a spitfire collision at Laindon Common Essex ,I know he has a road named after him at Wickford.
Sorry I replied to you by mistake. Not sure re spitfire crash will ask my dad over the xmas period.
No problem Stuart. Will take a look next week. I should be able to find it, just need a little more detail as a great many German aircraft were shot down over Essex. Regards to your Dad. Stay in touch.
Hi Ian, I’m with my father now and more info as promised.
He thinks it was the winter of 1940 as was very wet and muddy.
The area was langdon hills laindon. Noreview crescent a very close reference point.
He’s still convinced it was a dornier but not really sure.
One grizzly tale his father found a human finger,put it in a matchbox and gave to the authorities !
He thinks at least one died in the crash but at least two bailed out which in my mind rules out a me 110.
It as said missed their bungalow by 20 foot. The engines were never recovered and the props stuck out of the ground for several years till the land owner a mr smith cut them off and made a feature of the remains.
Thats why I’m interested as dad recalls only the wings were removed the vast majority we think is still under the clay.
Will come back with more memories later.
Hi my name is Clive Sweet.
I have a wing flap off a Messasmit 109 or I believe an Avalon !
The plane was shot down near Oakford in North Devon, my wife’s grandfather arrested the pilot dads army style and took him up to Tiverton police station…….
Apparently the young man bailed out I would like to know more about this incident as I feel I have a good indication as to where the rest of this aeroplane is !
While living in Kent I got to know an ex Coldstream Guards officer who had been posted to Berlin shortly after Germany’s surrender. As well as keeping me entertained down the village pub with stories of his own WW2 exploits he would also tell some stories about his dad’s WW1 experiences & whilst telling one of those he let it slip that his dad had been put in charge of an AA battery somewhere near Lympne during WW2.
At some point during the Battle of Britain his dad’s battery had downed a Ju88, not only had they downed it but they had jumped in a truck & raced to the crash site to lift some trophies before the army sealed off the site. As well as some other things he took the engine block number & a number plate from the fuselage. A few days later, knowing my love of history, he gave me the number plates & the pilots collar rank insignia & cloth bullion pilots badge, all slightly damaged by aviation fuel but clearly recognisable.
My question is where can I identifie the plane & crew from these two sets of numbers?
Hi Jez, may be able to. I have Nigel Parker’s Luftwaffe Crash Archive (am awaiting publication of Volume 12 which is last in the series) which details every Gernman air crash in the UK. If you have the aircraft werk number that should help identify it.
Here are the planes ID numbers again as my original reply has been ‘waiting for moderation’ for a few says now?
Gerat-Nr.9 6080 A
Werk-Nr. 6748 .35
Fur motor JUMO.211 A
fertigungs-Nr F12. 9347
Hi Jez, sorry I have been unable to look at the books I have. This morning I am free and am just replying to a number of queries I received, will take a look into yours soon. Bear with me, it might require me trawling through 11 volumes of books to find it!
So, I just started looking at the books I have and realised it would be a mammoth task for me as not all Werk numbers are identified in the entries for crashed aircraft.
However, the last volume of series I am hoping will identify your aircraft is due for publication on 1st Feb 2018; it contains a full index to the entire series. As I say, the author claims to list every German aircraft to have crashed so this will be the best bet to identify it, assuming the Wn is recorded.
I can look at what German aircraft were shot down going off the maps, but as you can probably imagine, there are a lot of Luftwaffe crash sites in Kent!
So please bear with me. I have pre-ordered the book and early in February will use that to try to find your aircraft if I haven’t stumbled across it before then (I will keep looking meanwhile, might find it wIthout the index).
Apologies for not approving your comment earlier; I had planned to look this morning (I am not in work today) and didn’t want to approve your comment without being able to reply with some info for you. I do get lots of requests for information and sometimes I can help, others I can’t but I usually try to help out if I can.
I have in the past approved a comment telling the person I will get back to them when I get chance – only to forget all about it, so not approving a comment is just like having an email marked as unread; I know I need to do something with it!
But you don’t know that, so it’s understandable that you should ask me where I am up to. But please do give me a reminder if you haven’t heard from me one way or the other by mid-Feb!
No worries, I have waited this long to research this so waiting a little bit longer is not a problem. It’s a pity I can’t remember where exactly it was shot down as this might help.
Your time & effort is greatly appreciated.
Cheers Jez, stay in touch
Thanks for getting back to me.
I was told exactly where it crashed but that was over 25yrs ago & I was in a pub at the time lol.
I’d love to know more about this plane & its crew, particularly its pilot & would appreciate any help you can give me.
Sorry Ian, I was told where the crash happened (now faded from memory) but other than during the BoB I was told nothing specific on date. The gentleman is long dead now so I can not go back to him on that.
Is there anywhere that I could go online using the aircraft info I have to get some answers?
I asked that and then saw you had already mentioned the BoB! Narrows it down a lot. Will take another look and get back to you over the weekend. I googled the werk nummer but nothing leapt out.
Hi Jez, have sent you an email to your outlook address.
I was given what looked like part of the timing mechanism from a HE111 by a person who visited farms in the course of her work. This mechanism had composition (not metal) teeth and incorporated a condenser marked Germany on it.This aircraft crashed on a farm near Honiton, Devonshire in 1940/41 I believe while minelaying I read about this many years in a book in a public library.Have you any information on this? This engine part we gave to a museum on Dunkeswell airfield where American Liberators were based.We often looked for souvenirs there and on one occasion took away two stainless steel machine gun belts before we were politely told by an American guard that we should not be there!
Will take a look later Peter, see if I have anything on it.
My father wrote an account of the Dornier crash in Laindon which he witnessed as a small boy. He did some investigation in later life and received a copy of a letter form a Keith Hiscock at Essex Aviation Group in 1998, which states they had one of the engines and the propeller reduction gear on display – given to them by Basildon ATC Squadron. I have “googled” Essex Aviation Group but it seems to be an aircraft firm now. Would anyone know if the original group changed their name and if there is still a display? I would like to visit if possible as the incident was a major part of my father’s childhood memories.
Hi meg,I wonder if it’s the same incident as my father remembers ?
He’s still alive,I visited him at xmas and he swears the engines were not recovered.
I’m waiting for more information from Ian re this topic. Would be interesting if our fathers knew each other.
I’m trying to confirm this information ” at Llwyn Knottia Farm off the Cefn Road Wrexham. Crash site of German Heinkel bomber from the 6th Staffel KG55 (greif) shot down by a Defiant night fighter from 96 Squadron RAF Wrexham night 7/8 5/1941 whilst raiding Liverpool.”
I know 96 Squadron where flying the Boulton Paul defiant in 1941 and KG55 moved to the Russian Front not long after May 1941, so what was the plane that crashed in Wrexham as indicated, any ideas.
The Heinkel 111 crashed there near Cefn Road in Wrexham. Local school children, including my 14 year old day, heard of the crash and were soon on it the next morning. They scavenged souvenirs (perhaps on their way to school, most likely) from the crash site before local authorities could seal it off. The next day, the RAF and the local civil authorities came to his school and asked the kids to bring back what they had collected. My dad said that kids started bringing back parts of wings, undercarriage, bullets, etc. to school over the next day or so.
I am currently researching information about the crash as well. I am interested in the two pilots and the observer that died in the crash. Their names were Walter Hottenrott (pilot), Hermann Reese (pilot), and Paul Gotze (Observer).
Good luck in your research!
Hi,I’d be very grateful if anyone could help me with the following.My Father(now 83) remembers being sent to live with one of his aunts who lived near Greens Windmill,Mount Street,Sneinton Nottingham during the Blitz (as his parents lived on Butler Street Radford Nottingham literally 2 doors up from the perimeter wall around the Raleigh Cycle works which was involved in war work and they feared being hit by German bombers!) My Dad distinctly remembers a Luftwaffe aircraft being shot down,possibly by anti aircraft fire over Sneinton and him seeing the pilot floating northwards on a parachute.He has no idea of the date of the type of aircraft but it was broad daylight. I am unable to find any record of the incident in the local newspaper records nor in the Nottingham City Archives. Could anyone assist me with this query? By the way,ironically,the Raleigh factory was never hit but a mansion house on the outskirts of Sneinton (where my Dad and his mates played in the grounds and which had its own petrol pumps!) was flattened one night.He remembers collecting bits of metal possibly shrapnel from the streets around for days afterwards) Many thanks John
Hi John, I will take a look in the books I have and get back to you. Any idea as to the approx date or year?
Hi Ian afraid I can’t help you with date or year,sorry. Many thanks
Ok will take a look anyway, see whats recorded.
Many thanks Ian
Hi John, I have taken a look but have found nothing concrete I’m afraid. But there are similar stories relating to the air raids on Nottingham of 8/9 May 1941 which is interesting.
In ‘Nottinghamshire Air Crashes’ (2008) by David Needham, there is only one record of a German aircraft having crashed in Nottinghamshire. A story was relayed to the author of a German aircraft – reportedly a Bf109 or Bf110 but I cannot imagine a fighter coming so far inland – being shot down by the RAF at Bingham and some girls saw the pilot parachute down, whereupon they and a farmhand with a pitchfork apprehended him. The author notes a similarity of the reported scene with one from the movie Battle of Britain where farmhands take into custody a downed Polish RAF airman.
Needham could find no more to confirm the story. I did wonder if stories might be getting mixed up over time? It seems unlikely that some schoolgirls would see the pilot bale out and open his parachute and see where the aircraft crashed, at some distance presumably, and make there way first to apprehend the pilot and then to the crash site. But the story is similar to that your dad recalls.
However, looking at Nigel Parker’s recent archive series there is also no mention of any German aircraft crashing in May – July 1941 in Nottinghamshire and these records are the best available. There may well have been other German aircraft crash at other times in Nottingham, perhaps in circumstances described by your father, and although not recorded by Needham they may be documented somewhere in Parker. There are 12 volumes – I have been looking at vol 8 – but let me know if you come across other info and would like me to check the other books.
There was an air crash in Wilford on 12 August 1944. This was an RAF Wellington and 3 crewmen bailed out and parachuted safely down. Again there are inconclusive stories associated with this crash, with one crewman allegedly being Polish and of the aircraft being on fire as it crashed leading Needham to wonder if accounts of this crash were not being confused with that of another? Schoolkids were reportedly on site at the time taking souvenirs.
So, nothing concrete at this point but the stories of seeing a pilot parachute from a crashing aircraft will have been widely reported at the time, these kids either seeing them happen or talk to other kids who saw them happen. So your dad’s story is not disproved, like I say, there may well be an account somewhere in Parker (he says he has recorded every Luftwaffe aircraft to crash in Britain) of a German bomber crashing at some time during the war but not reported by Needham. If I come across anything while looking at Parker, I will let you know. Similarly, if you find other info which might help, let me know.
Hi everyone I had wrote a few letters on here about my Mothers experience back in 1940 when she was almost ‘hit’ by a crashing ME 109 in a Farmers field on Hurst farm Mountain st Chilham Kent… My letters can be found ‘above’ I am writing to thank someone ( Jeannie ) who has sent me a ‘copy’ of a notebook entry made at the time about the crash Who by ? But the email was quite short and did not go into detail I have replied to the email and hope to find out more… Best regards to all of you And please visit the Battle of Britain Museum at hawking Kent, I am glad I did, fascinating !! best regards to all of you from Ray Hill. Theydon Bois Essex, Email email@example.com
I was wondering if anyone had any details of crashes near Mountfield, Sussex. I know a plane did come down near the Gypsum mine but have found an aerial photo of woodland nearby with what looks like a crater in it, jettisoned bomb maybe, and habe found strange pieces of aluminium in the woods near the “crater”. I am fascinated as we found a .50 cal casing in the woods as well which I guess was from the fighting overhead?? Any clues as to where to look or what book to buy would be amazing please. Many Thanks!
The aircraft crashing at the Gypsum Mines was at Woodlands Shaft on 4th Oct 1940 a Heinkell He111 V4+FW from II/KG-1.
A Spitfire went down on the 22nd May 1944 south of Glotenham stream and Sealands Wood, north of Park Pale and Mountfield Park.
There was also a Tempest and a Typhoon crashing at Netherfield
Thank you very much for that! I am beginning to wonder if this is not a V1 crater as 19 seem to have been recorded around Mountfield….I will keep looking. Thanks again.
Battle Rural District bore the brunt of V1’s shot down. 374 shot down, more than any other District in Kent Sussex Surrey or Essex.
Doodlebugs and Rockets by local historian Bob Ogley is a useful source.
He lists a specific V1 downed in Mountfield on 17/6/44 23.58hrs Southover Estate – Cottage demolished 2 seriously injured 3 lightly. There is also a map but not much use in identifiying exact locations
The County Records Office will have a more exact full list
There are also a series of books by Burgess and Saunders focussing on Sussex air war events of WW2
Battle over Sussex 1940, Blitz over Sussex 1941-42 and Bombers over Sussex 1943-45
For more detail on Luftwaffe specific losses look no further than the Luftwaffe Crash Archive series by Nigel Parker
Thanks for all that Simon.
I like Nigel Parker’s series, have them all. But wonder if the claim to document every Luftwaffe crash in the UK is valid? I am often asked to look into reports – or rather memories of reports – of crashed German aircraft where there is no record on the internet. Parker always draws a blank on these occasions as well, which means there is nothing in them. But I’d be very interested to see that claim proved wrong!
Hi do you have any info on a Bf 110 shot down in a field near Tandridge/Godstone Surrey I believe the pilots name was Ruger who was killed. I was told that the other crewman bailed out. I know the exact location and even after all these years you can still smell the fuel in the soil. The same source said that they buried him at the site would this be likely? any more info would be great who shot him down etc.
Regards Alan Bush
Hi Alan, I will take a look tomorrow and get back to you. Do you have the date of the crash, even an approximation? Will save me trawling through numerous volumes of books if you have.
Sometimes human remains were left (but not buried) at crash sites where the impact caused such trauma that the human remains were hard to identify and were impossible to recover. Research shows that high impact crashes meant many crash sites were not totally cleared of human remains. Even in the 1990s, there is one site on these pages where the pilot’s body remains at the crash site because it could not be recovered.
And even where German airmen were buried in local cemetaries and graveyards, they were mostly exhumed and reburied at the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase (there are photos of it here under Britain at War)
But I will get back to you about this paricular crash site. Let me know re; the date if you have it?
Hi Ian I only have the info I have because I was a member of a rough shoot club on Foyle Farm and one day we found 2 men excavating the crash site that we didn’t even know was there. Major Henderson the then owner said he didn’t want the site touched but he died some years ago so things might have changed now I think they were after the two engines which I think are still in the ground you could try battle of Britain maybe
Ok thanks Alan, will take a look and get back to you.
Your information was spot on! The crash is listed in Volume 3 of Parker’s Luftwaffe Crash Archive series (see bibliography page). Being able to search for the pilot by name saved me searching through lots of books and studying maps.
The aircraft was a Bf110D-0 Wn.3373 S9+BH and it crashed on Friday 6 September 1940 at Flow Meadow, Foyle Farm, Crowhurst at 0915 hours.
Parker provides a portrait of the pilot, Unteroffizier Gerhard Rüger and a poor quality photo of S9+BH in formation with other 110s. I have found another portrait online, slightly better quality.
Uffz. Gerhard Rüger
The aircraft left Valenciennes at 0830, landed at Calais – Marck then took off again at 0910 to attack the Vickers factory at Weybridge with seven other aircraft. Attacked by three Hurricanes, Uffz Rüger turned for home but was shot down. The Bf110 exploded on hitting the ground, creating a deep crater (presume the T/O time is an hour ahead, otherwise it was shot down and crashed within 5 minutes of taking off!)
The wireless operator, Gefreiter Edmund Ernst baled out.
This info led to me looking for what happened to the pilot’s body as he is not listed as being buried at Cannock Chase, as you suggest. There is a reference on a mesage board from 2006 which says “The remains of Gerhard Ruger were ‘disposed of’ by local troops and received no formal burial, the burial site being unmarked and unrecorded. As such, he remains oficially ‘missing’. See Blitz Then & Now Volume 1 p315.”
However, searching instead for Gefr. Ernst, I found this (the source of the portrait above) which refers to the information you had about the burial of the pliot, plus gives the details of the RAF airmen responsible for shooting down the German aircraft and Gefr Ernst’s account of it.
This page has a couple of images of what this Bf110 probably looked like – the camo pattern is similar to the one in the grainy image of the aircraft in Parker and this is the same model, the variant having a larger capacity fuel tank. Am no expert, but I think this would have been the emblem on the nose of the aircraft
By the way, the men digging for the aircraft would also have needed permission from the MoD as well as the land owner. Where there is a probability of finding live ordance or human remains, permission may not be granted, so it could have been an unauthorised dig. Personally I am against the practice of digging where there may be human remains, unless done with extreme care and respect. If they took the engines, hopefully they went to a museum, maybe the Wings Museum?
Hi Alan, Ian DB got it right , I have all the imformatrion as well and the photo he posted is the correct one,the crash was 6th September1940, he died but his Bf survived by baling out, he was Gefreiter Edmund Ernst. Hope this helps a bit ….Keith Williams.
Hi Guys I was led to believe that the wreckage was all buried on site so it should still all be there including the engines as the excavation was stopped before anything was removed. I personally think it should be excavated and put in a museum and saved for posterity and not left to rot in the ground or worse still be robbed by trophy hunters. Also I think that no deliberate effort should be made to find his remains however if they are found they should be removed and given a proper burial and or a memorial with a service placed on the crash site. Because whatever we may think of the Luftwaffe and the terrible havoc that they rained down on us he was still some mothers son who never came home. these are only my own personal opinions as I know there are still those who lived through the blitz alive today who cant forgive. my older sister included and I respect there feelings on this. but I believe it should be done as a sign of respect to all those young men on both sides who died in this terrible conflict. I will get off my soapbox now
My dad served in the Royal Navy from 38-45, he and his mates were of the same opinion, he had respect for his enemy. As you say, they were all human beings without much say in the matter.
Re; the wreckage, it would be good for it to be in a museum. I am a bit of a broken record on this subject, but the chances are it would end up somewhere else. This stuff has been lifted since the day of the crash, innocently and understandably by kids at the time, and then it either stays with people, in garden sheds or on shelves, but finally often just gets binned.
Less understandable is the practice of pinching stuff now and selling it on e-bay. Happily most people just take photos.
I don’t know if anyone can point me in the right direction. I live near Wilmington in East Sussex and heard a story recently from an elderly gentleman who was evacuated here in 1940. He claims (in that year) a German Luftwaffe airman had baled out of his crashing Heinkel nearby. I have tried to track the aircraft and also the airman, but without success.
Are there any records/books you could recommend, which could help me find this information? Many thanks.
My father recalls being “saved” by a German plane that deliberately crashed into trees to avoid him and his friends playing in a park in Didcot, now Oxfordshire but at the time Berkshire. Does anyone have any information about the crash or where I might find out more info about it or any othe rlcoal crashes that he recalls?
I continue to be haunted by the discovery of 4 white wooden crosses in the hilltop, Litlington (East Sussex) church cemetery while hiking sometime in 1951/52. They looked quite odd, laid out alongside all those ancient, moldering gravestones. Someone had painted the crosses with the names of four German airmen, with rank, serial numbers, etc. – in Gothic script, which I thought was a nice touch. All had died on the same day so I figured they were the crew of a bomber that was shot down in the area, possible a Do-17 or Heinkel-111 . Does anyone have any clues?
Hi David, if you can recall the date – or even the year – painted on the crosses, that would help as all Luftwaffe losses are listed in Nigel Parker’s Luftwaffe Crash Archive.
However, there are 12 volumes, so without the date it would mean trawling through all of them, page by page! Let me know if you recall any other detail?
Sorry, I do not recall dates or any other info from those white crosses. Wish I had had a camera in those days. I was about 13 or 14 years old and my interest in WWII and aviation had only just begun. I suppose those young German lads either got taken back home or were interred at Cannock Chase. I live in the USA these days but my hometown was Eastbourne, which got badly damaged by bombing. 75% of the town was evacuated in 1940. The father of a pal of mine was involved in recovering the body of an Me-110 pilot whose parachute failed to deploy properly. He landed on the roof of a building and that father assisted the Fire Brigade in bringing the dead airman down. After the war, his widow from Germany visited Eastbourne in order to claim her husband’s body and was treated very nicely by the townspeople. So many stories from the long-running war.
No worries David, I’ll have a look this weekend and get back to you. Yes, I expect the bodies of the crewmen are now at Cannock Chase.
Thanks also for giving this some thought Simon.
Hello again David, hi Simon,
Afraid I have not been able to positively identify a Luftwaffe aircraft crashing at Litlington though there was an airman who was killed near the village in 1941.
I found a reference which seemed to match what you are looking for – but then realised it is a piece written by you some years ago in a local newspaper!
I have looked at every page of Parker’s volumes, paying attention to any that are in Sussex. Not being familiar with the area, I had a map centred on the villages in the area.
I can only find one reference which may help you – but it is with regards a single crewman. A Heinkel He-111 was seen over Alfriston on 10 April 1941. The aircraft came down at Blatchington Golf Course and the crew survived – except one who had bailed out.
This aircraft took off from Paris for a raid on Birmingham but was attacked by a Boulton Paul Defiant night fighter over Redhill. The pilot, Ltn Klaus Conrad, ordered his crew to bail out, and he stayed at the helm and managed to crash land the aircraft on the golf course.
Of the 5 crew, 4 survived including the pilot. The dead crewman was Oberfeldwebel Herman Platt. Parker simply records Ofw Platt “who died aboard Heinkel 1H+JD”
But in “Images of War – Luftwaffe Bombers in the Blitz 1940 – 1941” by Andy Saunders (you can get a free pdf of this book – or at least the relevant pages – online), the author says,
“The 26-year-old observer on board the Heinkel 111 had jumped from the bomber over the village of Alfriston where the villagers heard his chilling cries and screams as the unfortunate airman tumbled earthwards with an unopened parachute, thus visiting the reality and horror of war on an otherwise sleepy rural community. Platt’s body was later located at Rathfinny Farm in Cradle Valley at Alfriston.”
This crash is also referred to in a memoir on the BBC, “Another night a Heinkel 111 was heard flying low over the village, then flew on to crash on the hill behind Seaford, near the cemetery. One member of the crew bailed out over Alfriston, his parachute failed to open, and he hit the hill above Cradle Valley. He is buried in Hailsham Cemetery.”
Photo of Ofw Herman Platt who died near Litlington when his parachute failed to open
Herman Platt’s grave at Cannock Chase
Map showing the golf course, Rathfinny Farm and Litlington
Not sure if any of this helps David?
Thanks again for your help Simon,
Ian, that section of Ordnance Survey map caused me palpitations! How I loved that area. Ron Dyson and I hiked several times from Eastbourne to Cuckmere Haven, sometimes going back along the beach under the cliffs until we either climbed up Birling Gap or Cow Gap to get back onto the Downs. For years there was some kind of wreck lying among the rocks, but we never were able to identify it. It looked like a miniature submarine in size and shape, badly damaged and it seemed to be compartmented. We sometimes camped (illegally) on High and Over. When we saw those four white crosses we had hiked up through Ratton Woods, then over to Jevington, then to Litlington. We were on some Boy Scout badge-qualifying mission so had to get proof that we had slept rough. Sleeping rough turned out to be in a horse barn, on fresh hay in a stall next to a couple of snorting show horses. Happy Days.
Living in Sussex myself I cant find any record of any buried near there now so I assume the bodies were exhumed and reinterred at the German Military Cemetery in Cannock Chase later. If it was more than 2 crosses you would be looking for a bomber crew. From Burgess and Saunders books of aircraft actions over the county Sussex I can find a 2 seater exotic Messerschmitt 410 that crashed nearby on 9th Nov 1943 but this is on the other side of Willingdon. A Dornier 217 crashed at Taring Neville on 22nd Nov 1940 but this is also a bit far from the village. A single seat FW190 crashed much nearer at Jevington on 7 Dec 1942 but that would be a single crewman. I suppose the graves could be to more than 1 aircraft though?
Really need the date so that Ian can look at Parker’s Crash Archives
Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Since the dates of the deaths of all four airmen were the same, I assumed that they were from just one aircraft. I did contact a Litlington Church administrator a few years back and he said that the young daughter of the vicar at the time (1940?) remembered something about the crash of a German aircraft in the area, but nothing more than that. He said the church archives are stored in Brighton somewhere and he was going to look into that at sometime. In the book ‘German Bombers Over England’, there is a fascinating photo of several Do-17s flying seemingly below cliff level, just east of Cuckmere Haven (which is very close to Litlington!), a convenient ‘entry point’ into England since it is below the higher levels of the Downs on each side. I think the caption on the photo said those bombers were on the way to attack RAF Kenley.
Simon, this is the reply I got from the Rector of Litlington Church:
Dear Mr Patterson,
I refer to your letter 14th January in which you ask for information regarding four white-painted crosses carrying the names of German airmen which you saw in the churchyard here in 1952, when you visited with a fellow Boy Scout. No such memorials are in place here now.
With apologies for taking so long to respond, I am sorry to say I do not think we are going to be able to help. Those who were resident in the village at that time were only children, and there is no longer anyone living here who was an adult in 1952.
I have spoken to the daughter of the Rev’d Chittenden who was Rector here during and after the war, and she remembers something about some German airmen being buried here. She was born in 1938, so was very young at the time. She says she does not know where in the churchyard this was. Do you recall where abouts you saw the crosses ? She does not know anything about any subsequent exhumations.
So far the Church records go, the Burials Register will record the names and details of all who were buried in the churchyard. Our Register for that long ago is now lodged at The Keep (the County archive). http://firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.thekeep.info. They might be able to help. If I get the chance I may go there and poke around, but no promises !
I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.
Churchwarden, St Michael the Archangel, Litlington.
Simon, it occurred to me that, if Litlington Parish records are separately identified in ‘The Keep’archive that is mentioned in his reply, since Litlington is such a small parish, it might not be too hard to single out those German interments. If I didn’t live on the other side of the Big Pond, I’d love to go take a look. And I would start with the 1940/42 period.
All the best. I continue to be fascinated by all this.
Simon, that Me-410 you mentioned: Dave Smith, another schoolchum of mine in those days (circa 1952), and a fellow aviation enthusiast, lived in Langney, which is part of Eastbourne and on the eastern edge of the town. Willingdon and Hampden Park are just a bit north of Langney. The area was lightly populated at the time (probably not so these days). The fields immediately south of Hampden park are low-lying and there was a system of drainage ditches that we sometime fished in (without success). Dave Smith told me about the crash of an Me-410 and we went searching for wreckage in those fields, expecting to see a crater perhaps. We didn’t find that but we did find a battered section of aluminum to which was attached some kind of rubbery/spongy material. We speculated that it might have been from a self-sealing fuel tank but who knows! How did it happen to be there anyway, in an uninhabited area? I have a couple of well-illustrated ‘Eastbourne at War’ books somewhere in my archives that detail WWII shootings-down. I will dig them out and see if mention of the 410 was made. One I do remember from one of those books is the shooting down of an FW-190 – by a Canadian soldier using a Bren Gun, of all things! I think the pilot was hit in the head. The 190 impacted in a ditch, not too far from where we lived in Hampden Park (also part of Eastbourne).
Hi Dave, Ian might have some more info from the Luftwaffe Crash archive volumes but the source I am using is “Bombers over Sussex 1943-45” by Burgess and Saunders (Middleton Press) as my reference. It states it was shot down on the night of 8/9th Nov 1943 by an RAF nightfighter Mosquito from 85 Sqdn crewed by Sqdn Ldr “Bill” Maguire & Fg. Off W.D.Jones.
It impacted at Shinewater Marsh, Hampden Park exploding violently and apparently blasting a massive crater in the soft soil.
In the Aug 1976 there was an excavation of the site (by the authors) that identified the aeroplane number #10244 allowing the crew to be identified as Major Wilhelm Schmitter and Uffz. Felix Hainzinger. Schmitter had been decorated with the Knights Cross with Oakleaves. Both men are still unaccounted for. There is a small photo of the RAF navigator by the Mosquito at West Malling and one of the excavation in 1976 with the now retired navigator proudly displaying a prop unearthed
Many thanks for that info, Simon. The ground certainly was marshy in that area, although it probably has been drained a lot since then. Eastbourne and surrounding area have witnessed considerable development since the days I lived there. I wonder if the 410 was carrying bombs that caused such an explosion. One of the so-called Baedecker Raids, perhaps. You have to wonder how many wrecks will just never be discovered, particularly those that lie under water.
That’s interesting about the widow. This incident (16 Aug 1940) is quite well documented with lots of the usual photo’s of the wreckage including one with a photographer Harry Deal posing alongside it. There are also some gruesome ones of the pilot Ernst Hollekamp on the roof of the Aldro/Hillbrow school & being lowered in his parachute by Sub-Officer Pat Short.
Pat Short was the father of a school chum of mine, Tony Short. The father of another school friend, Bryan Cozens, assisted the firemen. Cozens dad was a police ‘bomb identification’ specialist. He, in civvies, is in one of the photos taken when Pat Short brought the body down from the roof.
I was 8 years old when WWII ended in Europe. We got back to Eastbourne in late Aug. 1945. It was like a ghost town, since about 75% of the population had been evacuated in 1940. Almost every street seemed to have bomb damage. Unexploded bombs were still being discovered into the 1960s. I remember lots of barbed wire on the seafront and a long section of the pier had been removed in order to hamper invasion forces.
I attended Christ Church Junior School, which was housed in a large former private residence near the centre of town. The original CCJS had been destroyed by firebombs and the Fire Brigade HQ was also destroyed. In the school back yard, large aircraft-hangar-like buildings were constructed to house the fire engines and personnel. When calls to action occurred, our teachers allowed us kids to rush to the windows to watch the engines race out of those hangars. After all, we had just been through a world war!
Simon, the article I read about the widow of that German pilot was in the Eastbourne Herald newspaper, I think. Apparently, the fallen 110 had been misidentified at the time of it being shot down as an He-111. From photos I saw of the tangled, shattered wreckage, I can see why a less-informed witness would not be able to identify it correctly. The widow was able to put the record straight.
Its all a bit of a mystery. Maybe they were Navy Kriegsmarine personnel washed ashore?
Somewhat off topic, Rathfinny farm is now the location of one of the largest vineyards in the country. The owner has thrown millions into an ultra modern winery with 10 times the normal size vineyard. He has also patented the term “Sussex sparkling wine” which hasn’t exactly gone down well.
I was also wondering if the crosses David saw were to PoWs who had died, but unlikely PoWS would have been so close to the south coast. Or bodies washed ashore – but why bury them so far inland?
Why hasn’t the vineyard gone down well? It’d go down well with me!
I don’t know Sussex well but was down that way weekend before last, have friends in Worthing. Had a lovely walk in the Downs. It’s beautiful country. Mind you, from Bury it was 6.5 hours drive. We hit the M25 at rush hour on a Friday evening. Never again, will fly to Gatwick next time.
Ian, Litlington Church is only a few miles from the coast, and has the nearest cemetery also. Downland is considered ‘sacred’ in a secular sense, so it is unlikely that the authorities would have opened up an ‘ad hoc’ cemetery on the Downs nearer the coastline for enemy dead. And I suppose when the bodies were buried in ‘convenient’ Litlington, their interment may have been regarded as temporary in any case. Sad to say, there were many more important matters to deal with at the time, bombing raids in particular. POWs? The fact that those young men all died on the same date suggest otherwise. Same perhaps goes for bodies washed ashore; and who would know when they died?. There is an interesting photo in the book ‘German Bombers Over England’ of several Do-17s flying at or below cliff level, just east of Cuckmere Haven, on their way to bomb RAF Kenley, according to the caption. If ‘my’ four Germans were aviators, they might have been shot down on such a mission. Speculation abounds!
Being a native from your neck of the woods I appreciate that effort. The M25 is never a good proposition especially the bits that encompass the London airports Heathrow and Gatwick. I actually think 6.5 hours isn’t too bad but that’s because I have Landy that struggles past 65. Give me a shout next time you are in my neck of the woods and I’ll be happy to show you a few places where the Iron Cross’es grow.
The vineyard is I assume doing fine although I have my doubts about English wine’s future (lots of greedy businessmen out for a quick buck flooding the market) the “magnificent 7” will clean up (Chapel Down, Denbies etc) but I take issue with Rathfinny’s attempt to own and make Sussex wine a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), a bit like classing wines from Champagne as Champagne as oppose Sparkling from other regions etc. The fact that I help harvest for an award winning local vineyard has absolutely nothing to do with it……….ahem.
Ah, ok. Yes, stretching it a bit!
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Liverpool Blitz, Then & Now