Heinkel He-111 2871 GI+LH, near Stockport

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Heinkel He-111 2871 GI+LH, near Stockport

Crash site of a Heinkel bomber which was shot down during an air raid on Manchester, May 8th 1941. All crew members successfully baled out.

The Luftwaffe aircraft had lined up for the bombing run over Trafford Park* but was fired upon by a Boulton Paul Defiant night fighter of 256 Squadron after the Heinkel’s position had been given away by bursts of flak from AA guns on the ground. Luftwaffe pilot Oberleutnant Adolf Knorringer took evasive action, but Flight Lieutenant Deanesley stuck to his quarry and New Zealander, Flight Sergeant Jack Scott, who was sat in the Defiant’s turret, fired his 4 guns again at the bomber.

With its engines on fire the bomber was doomed, and the crew baled out, parachuted down and were taken prisoner. Witnesses such as the gentleman in the photo above, looking as though he just bagged it himself, described the aircraft on fire, tearing across the night sky before crashing in a ball of flame in a field near Stockport.

Oberleutnant Adolf Knorringer, pilot
Oberfeldwebel Karl Kohlhepp, observer/bomb aimer
Unteroffizier Ludwig Rathsam, wireless operator
Oberfeldwebel Aloys Kloos, flight engineer

The scene as it is now.

During the air raid of May 8th 1941, the Fairey Aviation factory at Heaton Chapel, Stockport, was a target. While some bombs hit their mark, 60 incendiary bombs landed here on the McVitie’s biscuit factory next door.
* More recent research (2013) suggests the incendiaries that fell here were dropped by this same He-111.


Another Luftwaffe bomber was shot down by a that night by a Boulton Paul Defiant, Ju-88 6213.

Photo © Stockport Express.
Details from Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area by Pat Cunningham (2006)
Luftwaffe over Manchester – The Blitz Years by Peter J C Smith (2003)

21 comments on “Heinkel He-111 2871 GI+LH, near Stockport
  1. Tech Owl says:

    Still some indentations in the ground then Ian – well put together and great detail

  2. pasujoba says:

    Great work Ian , this is a new take on the whole Home Front thing .
    I wonder if there are any scraps to see in that field when it is mown .
    Original and well constructed thread .

  3. Ian D B says:

    Thanks both. There’s nothing left I’m afraid, can’t really see it in this photo, but that’s long grass, there’s nothing visible. The field has been ploughed over many times. I think there have been several excavations over the years.

  4. andyholmfirth says:

    Those three guys just look like big game hunters who’ve just bagged "jerry".

  5. Florence et Ghislain says:

    Great work! I’m studying history and this photo are very interesting!

  6. Mark McKie says:

    Keep up the good work Ian.

  7. redrocker_9 says:

    You are a great fact gatherer =)

  8. stuant63 says:

    Fascinating to see all of these ‘then and now’ shots. Loving your work Ian

  9. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Agree with the above, lovin the before and after shots.

  10. sixty8panther says:

    That’s a whole lot of sharp, twisted metal.

    Here’s a general "before-before" example in 1:48th scale.

    He.111 German Luftwaffe

  11. Ian D B says:

    They were beautiful looking aircraft. Nice model!

  12. John Hardman says:

    The He111 was ordered in 1932, before Hitler came along, and was pretty much obsolete by 1942 because it wasn’t capable of dive-bombing and was slow.The Germans gave its construction plans to Spain on June 5th, 1944 and Spain constructed its own copy “Heinkels” some of which were still in use (fitted with British “Merlin” engines) during the early ’70s.
    Some Heinkels had special radio-pathfinding sets by which they coulld be guided very accurately to their target area. They would start bombing and marking the target for the stream of bombers that were following.
    Later on the RAF decided on marking their own targets in a similar way to improve on their dismal bombing-performance up to 1942.

  13. Jeff Williams says:

    I was 4 years old in 1942 and have a clear memory of a two engined German Aircraft ‘hedge hopping’ towards Heaton Mersey View from Cheshire Sterilised Milk. It was a bright day and must have been a non-school day because there were four or five of us and the eldest, Irene Aspinall, was about nine or ten years of age. The plane was so low as it passed over the Woolpack Hotel we could see the black crosses on the top of the wings. The pilot was waving us to get out of the way as he zoomed over our heads and we dived backwards over the garden wall. Does anybody recall the event?

    • George Seager says:

      I was 4 years old in 1942 and lived in Carmichael St. Edgeley. I remember one day being in the house with my dad and running out to follow my mum to the shop. I was frightened by the noise of a German bomber flying very low over the house.

  14. Neil Waters says:

    My friend and author Wrote a small book on this call the Manchester Heinkel. It’s a great read, you can find it on Amazon.

    Just shows you how close to home the war was!

  15. Derick Frost says:

    I was at the crash site the day after with several pals (9 year olds). A RAF guard was there to prevent major souvenir activity. My lasting memory was of the smell of the yellow chromate aluminium. No idea if we “won” anything but it was a major happening at the time.

  16. Simon Calvert says:

    I’ve just stumbled on this little gem, I remember when I was at school in Cheadle many moons ago reading a report of an He111 crash landing in Hazel Grove, in the story sometime before the war one of the crew had been on an exchange visit and had stayed with a family in the Hazel Grove area, even now over 40 years later this tale comes to mind if I ever am in Hazel Grove. I don’t know if it’s a true recollection or a good bit of propaganda but a nice story all the same.

  17. Mark Weaving says:

    I have what is possibly an identification plate from this aircraft as my grandfather worked for Mirlees blackstone

    • Ian D B says:

      That’s interesting Mark, could you please get a photo of it to me, will take a look and will add it here with a credit to you? My email address is on the contact page.

      Many thanks,


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