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Documentation of every Luftwaffe Loss in UK

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Documentation of every Luftwaffe Loss in UK

Old 17th Oct 2010, 08:54
  #1 (permalink)  

Sub Judice Angel Lovegod
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Documentation of every Luftwaffe Loss in UK

I have recently come across a teacher who has inherited a family collection, which he describes thus:

..."Fallen Eagles" collection that is now in my family's keeping after his recent death.

It is a fasinating collection of detailed records of every Luftwaffe aircraft which crashed in the UK during the Second World War that took him most of his life to put together. The 3 examples below are from early October 1940.

Each aircraft has several photos, usually with the negatives.

The collection covers the entire war period and I believe it to be only aircraft lost on British soil. There are 6 volumes (A4 lever arch). Any ideas of the best place for it would be great as I have no expertise in this area so I don't even know if it is a rare thing or not. The detail is quite superb though and I imagine someone would love to see it exhibited perhaps?
I believe that an attempt (though I don't know how determined) was made to get IWM/Duxford to take an interest, but they didn't.

I would have thought that this collection would be very valuable to a serious historian, museum or collection, so ideas on a postcard please...

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Old 17th Oct 2010, 09:38
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No postcard

You might offer it to the RAF Museum at Hendon. Log on to their website and you can e-mail the archivist.
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Old 17th Oct 2010, 23:47
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Seems a brilliant find to me. I would imagine the Smithsonian Institute or German Museums/Historical Societies might want a copy even if UK Agencies are not interested.

In any case it is too valuable a work to grow dusty in an attic in my opinion.
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Old 18th Oct 2010, 10:53
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Surely publishing it, either in the form of a Book or a Website, would make it more accessible to the General Public.

I'd also have thought if it was published in monthly "chunks" in one of the specialist mags, it would surely increase the sales & interest in that mag.
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Old 18th Oct 2010, 11:05
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That looks a fantastic find. Have you tried contacting Andy Saunders who is one of the experts on this sort of thing. He posts on the Flypast Historic Forum as Tangmere1940, or via his website Andy Saunders

Last edited by Moondance; 18th Oct 2010 at 11:42.
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Old 18th Oct 2010, 15:27
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Sub Judice Angel Lovegod
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Thank you for the suggestions.

The family have now stipulated that they want it kept in the UK (I had started contact with the Luftwaffe Museum in Gatow, but luckily they didn't answer the phone.)

IWM are now expressing much more enthusiasm than they did before (I wonder if they didn't find the right person before.)

I will certainly write to Andy.
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Old 18th Oct 2010, 16:02
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Sub Judice Angel Lovegod
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All's well that ends well.

Andy was absolutely delighted to hear from me. It turns out that he and other historians knew of this collection and were devastated to think that it had been put in a skip with the rest of the contents of the flat; he was like a puppy with two tails to hear that it survives.

I have arranged for Andy to meet the current custodian on Wednesday, with a view to Andy getting the collection moved to Hendon.

So a good team effort Prooners, well done!
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Old 19th Oct 2010, 07:33
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I'm curious to know the total number of German aircraft shot down in the UK. I'm assuming it would be in the thousands? Does the document give a grand total?


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Old 8th Mar 2012, 21:28
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The four photos of Ju 88 '4136' are of great interest to me. This is the aircraft that bombed my father at DH Hatfield - he survived, but many of his colleagues didn't.

Here is what I have from Julian Evan-Hart:

Junkers Ju 88 A-1
Stab 1 /KG77
Eastend Green, Hertingfordbury.
Time 11.40 Hours
Oberleutnant Siegward Fiebig (Uninjured).
Feldwebel Heinz Ruthof (Uninjured)
Oberfeldwebel Erich Goebel (Uninjured).
Unteroffizier Kurt Seiffert (Uninjured).

Junkers Ju 88 A-1
Stab 1 /KG77
Werke Nummer 4136
Eastend Green, Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire.
11.40 hours, 3rd October 1940
Oberleutnant Siegward Fiebig (Pilot).
Feldwebel Heinz Ruthof (Air Gunner and Bomb Aimer).
Oberfeldwebel Erich Goebel (Radio Operator and Navigator)
Unteroffizier Kurt Seiffert (Air Gunner).

Thursday October 3rd 1940
This was the first example of a Junkers 88 to fall on Hertfordshire soil during World War Two.
The crew had taken off from Laon aerodrome In France at approximately 09.40hrs, and had been briefed to attack Reading. However the weather on this October morning was very poor with persistent drizzle and low cloud. Whilst Over England these factors assisted the crew in becoming rapidly disorientated. After flying around for some time, they spotted a break in the cloud, through which they dropped and levelled out. Attempting to get some idea of where they were. The time now was exactly 11.23am and the Junkers was approaching Hatfield rapidly from the Southeast. As they levelled out they could not believe their luck as the large and tempting target lay out in front of them. Within seconds they were right over Hatfield aerodrome, and on the ground below the response was rapid.

The ground defences opened up almost immediately with everything from Bofors to mounted machine guns. Fiebig swung the Junkers in a wide circular flight path around the aerodrome perimeter. Then levelling of at some height he commenced a dive-bombing run releasing six bombs (some sources say four). These were released at such low altitude that each of them “sword fished” and bounced off the tarmac apron of the airfield leaving behind their fins. Each left a deep groove like scar in the tarmac. The bombs then crashed through the walls surrounding machine tool workshops and shelters and then exploded. Fiebig then swung his aeroplane around again in a wide arc and came in machine gunning as he flew over. (It has been said by several people he was machine-gunning workers as they ran to the shelters, whilst possible, I have not been able to confirm this) This second run may have been to assess the bomb damage, but for whatever reason as the Junkers machine guns were firing it took several direct hits, one of which exploded damaging the horizontal stabiliser. On the ground the damage was catastrophic, twenty-six employees had been killed and many injured, one of the bombs had exploded directly in one of the underground shelters. Unknown to Fiebig and his crew some of the bombs they had just released exploded smack right in the middle of Britain’s latest twin engined fighter production line. Consequently the development and main output of the Mosquito was put back by months. Later production was split up and components manufactured far more widespread to avoid a repetition of this occurrence. The starboard engine of the Junkers began to issue smoke and then burst into flames. Seconds later it just stopped leaving the propeller just wind milling, which Fiebig then feathered to reduce vibration and drag. Departing from the scene of devastation in a North Easterly direction the Junkers was trailing a long black plume of smoke. Numerous people witnessed the aeroplane passing over, as it did people saw the rear canopy jettisoned followed by several steel helmets and other items being thrown out. One lady remembers the Junkers passing over with pieces falling off (or being thrown out) and later was fortunate enough to find one of the cloth Luftwaffe caps from one of the crew in a local field…..unfortunately now lost long ago. Another eye-witness was 10 year old Cyril Golder who saw the burning Junkers pass right over his house. There was a slight thump at the front door of their house, upon investigation Cyril saw a leather flying helmet lying on the doorstep. Some two years later Cyril was walking his pet dog over a bramble infested field known locally as the “Black berry Field” when his dog chased a rabbit into a dense patch of undergrowth.. The ever investigative Cyril looked in and spotted a tube like object. Closer examination revealed a complete German MG15 machine gun with a saddle drum of bullets. He ran off and told his father who then went to the locally billeted troops at The Woodman Pub; the gun was later extricated from the dense brambles and taken away. Like many lads of his time Cyril went and saw the burned out Junkers wreck and had a good collection of associated artefacts, however with the passing of time and house moves they have been consigned to history. The burning aeroplane gradually got lower and lower, the crew who had decided to stay put could see a fairly flat field, and Fiebig decided to make a landing there. Since small aircraft from Panshanger aerodrome also used this field on occasion, was it simply a logical choice for a pilot, or did Fiebig really know the landing opportunities of this area? Wrestling with the virtually non-responsive controls he did manage to lower the main undercarriage in preparation to landing. However the Junkers was so low by now that it tore through the top of a thick hawthorn hedge and skidded onto the damp stubble surfaced field. Almost immediately the port undercarriage collapsed and the Junkers slewed round violently. Finally coming to rest with the starboard engine and wing fuel tank fiercely ablaze the crew clambered from the cockpit and ran off across the fields. The four crew members were later captured about a mile away, and were later taken under escort to Hatfield police station. After processing they were all eventually to end up in Canada for the remainder of the wars duration. All were repatriated to Germany in 1947. It was later rumoured that the pilot Siegward Fiebig had a pre war connection with de Havillands at Hatfield, that seemingly being the reason he flew around several times to allow workers to reach the shelters, before bombing the plant. One may ask why then on his second pass did he machine gun these workers!! I can find no evidence to substantiate this pre war connection, but in this instance it is one continually quoted, such statements do seem to be a common wartime rumour theme. It’s amazing how, according to local or media based rumour, many times a member of a German aircrew attended the local school or college, or worked nearby to where they later crashed.

Several eyewitness letters are worth recording in relation to this incident:- the first of these from D.G.Campbell:

Dear Sir, along time ago I am sorry to say, I saw a cutting in the local paper entitled Crash Trail asking for anyone with knowledge of crashed aircraft. I believe it was during the time that the Luftwaffe was making daring daylight strikes at airfields. A Ju88 attacked de Havillands. Bombs struck the factory and tragically hit the apprentice school killing and wounding many. It made a second run, machine gunning as it went, but I believe was then hit from a Bofors gun mounted on the factory roof, manned by the LDV (Home Guard). It force landed on my cousins farm, near Panshanger airfield, tearing off the Port undercarriage leg and slewing round flat on the ground. The weather at the time was low cloud and overcast, probably making a bale out impossible. The aeroplane may have been on fire, and I think the gunner was wounded. My cousin and a few others covered the crew with shotguns until the Police arrived. The aeroplane was burned and a total wreck. All I have written is from memory; I had a friend who cycled all the way from St.Albans to see the wreck. As an ex pilot myself I consider that they did rather well….from the German point of view.

The second letter from R.Mason-Jones is as follows:-

I was a tenant of the field which had been part of Roxford Farm. Roxford Farm, one of the best in the district had been split up. I have not seen the field in daylight since 1945. Some years ago I left my tenant agreement and maps with the occupant of the large cottage, who lived in our house then. When I left the district the fields were taken over by the gravel company. I was working in some buildings at Waterhall Farm when the plane crashed. One of my father’s men came from the fields and said a German plane had crashed. I thought he was talking nonsense, as the small training planes from Hatfield, and the dummy aerodrome at Panshanger often practised landing in the field behind the cottages. They never did more than touch down and up again. I looked across the river and people were flocking down from Little Berkhampsted over the bridge and across the fields. I ran to the cottage to get my Home Guard rifle and two clips of ammunition. On the way I met Mr Anstey a Sergeant in the Home Guard. The crew of the Junkers 88 had vanished and Mr Anstey organised a search. We spread out and crossed the next field intending to beat the large wood towards Hertingfordbury Station. As we approached the wood three German airmen got out of the ditch beside the wood. One of them handed over a small pistol to an RAF Private who had joined in the search party. We all went towards my house, where Mrs Pasteur from Roxford House arrived complete with a tray of tea and cake for everyone. The police arrived having come up the road by East End Green. The crew were then separated and taken to separate rooms in my house. Later they were each taken away in separate vehicles. It all happened along time ago. I think only one engine of the aircraft had been on fire when it crashed. It was quite out when I later looked at the wreckage. A squad of soldiers came and took charge. They were billeted in a nearby cottage and at night did not leave a sentry on duty at the wreck. I thought at first they did no damage at de Havillands, but I had a friend whose brother and father were in the workshop that was bombed and were lucky to get out alive. I seem to remember the plane actually tried to land at de Havillands once it was damaged but was driven off by machine gun fire. There was talk that the plane came over Birch Green and machine-gunned the houses there. This was not true.

The third letter came from Arthur Deamer who actually worked at de Havilland at the time of the incident.

“I was employed as an apprentice at the De Havilland Aircraft Company in 1940, when I was seventeen years old, in what was called the D.H.94workshop. This department housed the D.H.94 (a small monoplane) assembly, the panel beating and sheet metal sections and a tank section where I worked. This section made tanks for the Tiger Moth, Queen Bee (a radio controlled target aircraft) Albatross, Airspeed Oxford and the D.H Rapide etc. During 1940 we started work on repairing fuel tanks for the Hawker Hurricane aircraft that had been shot up during The Battle of Britain (how we cursed those rivets) At the beginning of the War millions of productive hours were lost by workers going to the shelters when an air raid was in progress, and due to serious loss of production (it was understood at the time that the enemy deliberately sent odd aircraft over for this purpose) the Government (under D.O.R.A.) decreed that shelter would only be sought when imminent danger was present. On 3rd October 1940 a wet and drizzly day, I believe at 11 am approximately a voice came over the tannoy system, which shouted “For Christ’s sake take cover”. All personnel proceeded to the indoor shelters in an unhurried manner and within a few minutes there were six large explosions, and an oxygen cylinder was blasted through the wall of the shelter I was in. Fortunately no one was injured in this shelter. On leaving the shelter, I was amazed to see no buildings left; all there was to see was an enormous pile of ironwork and equipment in ruins. It became immediately evident that the other indoor shelter had had a direct hit, and it was obvious there would be many casualties. During the next few weeks I was engaged with some older men sorting out tools, jigs and other equipment for salvaging and for the desperate need to restart work. During this time there were many grisly finds, and the workers became very wary of going to the indoor shelters. Egged on by a pair of Union agitators, hundreds of employees would run out onto the aerodrome rather than go to these primitive tunnel type indoor shelters. However as far as I can recollect there was twenty-six men killed in this incident (including three supervisors who did not go to the shelters), Mr Dawson a Foreman, “Gus” a Chargehand and Harry Fordham also a Chargehand. A number of men could not be identified and were buried in a communal grave at St. Etheldredas Church in Old Hatfield. The others were buried privately. After this it came to light that the enemy aircraft had crash-landed in a field at Hertingfordbury. When interrogated (so the story goes) it appears the pilot circled the aerodrome several times, very low because of the weather, and this pilot, who had previous connections with de Havilland Trade School, had recognised the Clock Tower at Jack Holdings. The aeroplane was spotted by someone in the Observation Post at Hatfield aerodrome, hence the urgent plea to take cover over the tannoy (this plea was by Jock Alladyce the Works Manager). Six bombs bounced off the tarmac apron on the airfield side (the marks could be seen on the tarmac) and landed in the middle of the large workshop area.

Crash Investigation
By now several local people were walking across the fields to the scene, one local man who was quite an eccentric ran over to the burning wreck. He began tapping on the cockpit area shouting, “Come out come out” but the crew had escaped minutes before. Some local people managed to remove some items from the blazing wreck before the authorities arrived. The largest of these was a complete dinghy removed from the fuselage just behind the cockpit. How many 1950`s – 60`s riverside picnic parties did this trophy of war participate in I wonder. A day or so later on of the swastika bearing panels was removed from the vertical stabiliser and the two MG15 machine guns removed from the jettisoned cockpit section. These trophies were to remain for many years in a small private museum on the site of Hatfield aerodrome. The paint scheme of this aeroplane was standard for the time, in that the under surfaces were light blue and the upper surfaces were green and brown splinter camouflaged. This particular aeroplane had a white bar painted on the port side of the tailfin. This partially obscured the swastika marking and the Werke Nummer. Another white bar was also painted on the upper surface of the port wing tip. The spinners were white and green

66 Years on
Of the de Havillands wartime buildings a few still remain in situ in early 2005. However the whole site has been subjected to massive retail park development. Many original buildings are now gone forever, existing only as a piles and spreads of broken brick strewn across weed infested areas soon to be built on. Visiting the crash site of 3Z+BB in early 2005 this too has been lost forever. The field surface has been remodelled into huge earth banks, and the exact spot where the Junkers ended its days is now under about twenty feet of landfill rubbish. Therefore it would seem that after sixty-five years all trace of the raider and its target have vanished, consigned to history. But not quite so for months before this field was torn apart by heavy plant I went there with a metal detector and located a few widely scattered fragments of 3Z+BB. Undoubtedly more souvenirs still exist but have been mislaid or with time passing family members have no idea where Granddad's wartime relics came from.
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Old 11th Mar 2012, 17:39
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Timothy and friends.

Two points here:

1) The archivist at the RAF Museum is a friend of mine and her email address is [email protected]

2) Sorry to rain on your parade a bit, and it is indeed a fantastic document, I have not seen one like it in my 14 year career as an RAF curator. However, it is unlikely that we will EVER find ALL the Luftwaffe losses over the UK. For instance, many of our aircraft went in deeply and have not yet been found, many were destroyed over the Channel or N Sea and will never be found. Some exploded and are scattered in numerous places. Therefore, from the RAF point of view, we will never be able to say completely how many aircraft we lost. This is much the same for Luftwaffe aircraft over the Uk - for the same reasons.

Therefore, more accurately, this is a log of Luftwaffe losses in the UK...but I think not "every" loss!!

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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 22:57
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Quite a story about the bombing of Hatfield as an alternative to Reading; can I put this story on my website which would be behind a link button; I have done this with Hayleyfordart and the IWM, as both agreed.

I am looking into, bringing out the history of Panshanger Aerodrome and its wartime connections to Hatfield, and something like this would help.

My website is: ab-initio.wix.com/holwellhydeheritage named after the decoy factory site at panshanger.

Kind Regards,

Dean McBride.
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