III./JG 52 carry out a freie Jagd

Intended to cover the withdrawal of bombers attacking a convoy in the Thames Estuary they cross over Dover and proceed north over Kent. Reaching the estuary they encounter a Squadron of Spitfires (54 Sqn. or 65 Sqn.). In the clash off Margate four Bf 109s are shot down. Among the casualties are Gruppenkommandeur Wolf-Heinrich von Houwald and two of his Staffelkapitäne, Oberleutnants Herbert Fermer and Lothar Ehrlich (of 7. and 8./JG 52 respectively). Only one of the three Spitfires claimed was confirmed.

  • Uffz J Zwernemann (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate
  • Uffz E Rossmann (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate (disallowed)
  • Lt J Keidel (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate (disallowed)

III./JG 52 escort Ju 87s attacking convoy CW.8 in the Straights of Dover

Attacked by 610 Sqn. (Spitfires) which come out of the clouds they lose four more Bf 109s.

Three disappear into the Channel are Oberleutnant Willy Bielefeld - the interim Staffelführer of 7./JG 52, Fermer’s designated replacement Oberleutnant Wilhelm Keidel and Ltn Hans Schmidt of Stab III./JG 52.

8./JG 52's Unteroffizier Max Reiss' Bf 109 E-1 6 + ~ takes a hit to the radiator and about twenty bullet strikes to the fuselage and starboard wing. He makes a good forced landing at Elvington Court, Deal.

7./JG 52 Unteroffizier Edmund Rossmann's claim for a French Breguet Bre 690 east of Margate is disallowed.

In 24 hours III./JG 52 has lost its Gruppenkommandeur and the equivalent of four Staffelkapitäne.

Radar plots appear

As the dawn mist burns off, radar picks up aircraft over Cap Griz Nez. (6+ over Cap Griz Nez and 3+ in the Straights.)

54 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Manston to deal with fighters and 610 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Hawkinge to deal with bombers.

The 6+ raid are Do 17 from KG 2 targeting Lympne.

Big dogfight over Elham

Nine Bf 109s of II/JG 52 pass over Dover and steer the fight with 12 of 610 Sqn's Spitfires east to clear the way for ErprGr 210.

Harvest of Messerschmitts:

One Squadron of 1/JG 26's Bf 109s crossed the coast wast of Dungeness and circled round nort-east of Dover. They are intercepted by Spitfires of 54 Sqn. One of the Bf 109E-1s with lowered undercarriage, whose pilot Oblt. Friedrich Butterweck - later found dead six miles away - had bailed out, flew in circles over the village chased by Spitfires. It finally zoomed low over the village before crashing into Running hill. Over the next few days the unguarded wreck was a source of souvenirs for locals. The kill was claimed by P/O HKF Matthews of A Flt, 54 Sqn.

Battle of Britain - Then and Now and JG 26 War Diary:

Shot down over Ashford and exploded over Standard Hill Farm, Elham.

P/O Matthews Form "F" combat report reads:

Sector Serial No (A) D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 12/8/40.
Flight, Squadron (D) "A" Flt. 54 Sqn.
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 12
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Me. 109's
Time Attack was delivered (G) 0830 - 0840 hours approx
Place attack was delivered (H) 5-6 Miles South of Dover
7-8 Miles N.W. of Dover
Height of Enemy (J) 16,000-17000 feet
Enemy Casualties (K) Confirmed. destroyed 1 Me.109
Unconfirmed -
Probably destroyed 1 Me.109
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Nil
Personnel (M) Nil
Searchlights (N) (i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) Slight A.A. over Dover
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range opened. 250 - 150 yards
Length of Burst 7-8 secs 6-7 secs
Rage closed 200 yds.
No. of rounds per gun fired 2358
General Report (R)
The squadron was patrolling Manston and was ordered to investigate aircraft in the Dungeness area. I saw about 12 aircraft at between 1300 and 1500 feet West of Dungeness. There were in Sections (4) line astern, as as we approached the whole enemy Squadron went into line astern.

They came inland and circled round North East of Dover, going into the sun which was very strong. AS we went into attack we became split up owing to this strong sun, and I got on to the tail of one 109 over the sea and gave it a 7 to 8 second burst from astern opening at 250 yards. I saw my bullets entering and the 109 made a very steep dive from about 1200 feet towards the sea. I think mulst out of control although I did not actually see it crash. I then came across 3 or 4 109's in a scattered vic formation. I got on the tail of the rear one and from dead astern opened fire at 250 yards, closing to 150 yards using deflection. This machine went straight down and crashed into the water land about ten miles North West of Dover. The enemy aircraft was camouflaged in the usual way and took no special evasive action.

The pilot of the a/c bailed out.

The destruction of this 109 is confirmed by the guns who reported the crash.

H Matthews. P/O

Mary Smith records in her diary:

Raids nearly all day. Nazi plane down on Running Hill about 8.30am. Horrid add AA bangs all morning.

A Bf 109 was also shot down over New Romney. (Possibly Oblt. H-Werner Regenauer, Bf 109E-4 of 2/JG 26 @ 1220)

Obltn Frieidrich Butterweck

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

From the pilot's Ausweis it was established that he was probably from JG26, although his pay-book showed he was with I/JG26 on 26th September 1939. He had been in the GAF for two years, previously serving in the German Army

AW: white, Dortmund, 15/1/40, FP: L 35464 Münster.

Frieidrich Butterweck (60014/3) was born on 28/1/1916 in Breslau. He had one known victory, a French Potez 63 at Poppel, south of Tilburg in the Netherlands, 13 May, 1940. He is burred in grave 15 of row 1 of the German section of Hawkinge cemetery.

Grave of Oblt. Friedrich Butterweck, Hawkinge

In August 2018 I took a trip up to Standard Hill farm, which sits on the high ground to the east of the Elham Valley. However, as there are no clear landmarks in the photos so, absent of more information, I was not able to definitively identify the crash site. However, in the photo of the remains of the fuselage from the starboard side the west edge of the valley is visible in the distance which means it must be close to east edge of the valley.

Standard Hill farm, Elham, Kent

The Brenzett Aeronautical Museum investigated the site and recovered many small parts.

II/KG 2 bomb Canterbury airfield

54 Sqn and 56 Sqn Hurricanes are vectored towards the 24 Do 17s of II/KG 2, lead by Kommodore Oberst Johannes Fink, who it is assessed are heading for Manston after crossing the Channel from Calais to North Forland. The 30 Bf 109 escorts of I and III/JG 54 fail to see the camoflaged Hurricanes climbing to intercept the bombers.

The bombers throw out confetti, toilet paper and handgrenades to confuse the attacking fighters.

The ensuing combat between the fighters continues back across the Channel with 32 Sqn and 64 Sqn joining in.

Oberleutnant Albert Dressel of III/JG 54's Stabsschwarm belly lands his Bf 109 near Margate and is taken prisoner.

Luftwaffe records state that ‘Canterbury airfield’ and another reported as being west of Manston received a total of five 500kg, four 250kg and 439 50kg bombs. The bombs fall around Bekesbourne and Patrixbourne.

Bekesbourne was a WWI RAF airfield and had been used in May and June 1940 by Lysanders of 2 and 13 Sqns. supporting Operation Dynamo. They were widthdrawn on 8 June and the aifield obstructed by stakes to prevent it being used by invading forces.

Sorces: Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust

KG 76 bomb Hawkinge

At Hawkinge the personnel on the base are taken by surprise as the Do 17s (KG 2 and KG 76) and Bf 110s (EprGr 210) come in over Folkestone at medium height and the AA crews aren't able to man their guns - with the exception of two Hisapnios.

Number three hanger at Hawkinge receives direct hits and the iron doors come off their runners killing one airman and two civilian employees - Brisley and McCaister. Inside the hanger two Spitfires under repair were wrecked and two others seriously damaged. Four airmen are killed and six seriously wounded.

The workshops, clothing store and two married quarters were destroyed and the main store was on fire and the ammunition there was exploding.

Luftwaffe records state that Hawkinge was attacked in two waves, with 280 110-lb bombs being dropped first, followed by 16 1100-lb and eight 551-lb bombs.

64 Sqn's Spitfres engaged the Do 17s over Hawkinge and remarked on the lack of AA fire. American PO Donahue bailed out of his burning Spitfire over Sellinge.

Hurricanes from 32 Sqn returning to the airfield to refuel have to negotiate the 28 craters on the landing field. Flt. Lt. Michael Crossley requests permission to land, the response from the controller being "Hello Jacko Red Leader. We've had a spot of bother here. Permission to pancake granted. Good Luck." Sgt. Lacey's undercarriage collapses and F/Lt Gibson's aircraft ends up on it's nose. PO Barton opts to crash-land in a nearby field. The aircraft are refuelled and returned to Biggin Hill.

Firemen from Folkestone arrive to help out at the airfield. Section Leader R. R. Fry is accompanied by his team of Bill Willis, Percy Sutton, Ted Beeching, George Rumsey and George Kelly are fighting the multiple blazes at No 3 hanger where saving the aircraft isn't possible.

49 MU lost a number of vehicels, including a Ford V8 staff car and a Commer low-loader.

Fry said of the incident:

A chaotic scene greeted our arrival. There were fires in several places. The water tower, supplying pressure for the hydrants, had been holed by splinters in may places and water cascaded from it, reducing our mains supply to a trickle as we watched.

The main priority was getting the landing field operational and soldiers, airmen and civilians worked through the night filling in craters, sustained by a mobile canteen serving tea and sandwiches.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) RAF. Station Hawkinge

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Hawkinge August 1940
12th
WEATHER. fine. The I.G. of the R.A.F, Sir E.A LUDLOW-HEWITT, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C. inspected the Station. An Enemy Bombing attack by J.U. 88's against the Station was carried out at 17.30 hours and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. One hanger, No. 3, was almost completely wrecked whilst on other, No. 5, was partially wrecked. A number of Bombs of heavy caliber, including incendiary, were dropped. The aerodrome and buildings were machine-gunned during the attack. The main stores were partly damaged by fire, the clothing store almost completely. The fire was quickly brought under control by R.A.F. personnel aided by local A.F.S. The Station Workshops were wrecked. Two houses in the Airmen's Married Quarters , occupied by airmen, were destroyed. Twenty-eight craters were made on the aerodrome, the largest being 76' x 72' x 28' deep, and the smallest 10' x 10' x 8' deep, but the aerodrome was not rendered completely unserviceable. Repairs to the surface were immediately commenced by the R.E.s. already attached for such work. Ground Defenses were surprised and no guns, except two HISPANO were fired. The altitude of the attacking aircraft was such that it was impractical for the P.A.C.U. to be brought into action. Two civilians, MR. BRISLEY and MR. CAISTER, employed by contractors of the Works Directorate, were killed and three airmen, CORPORAL Mc. COLL attached from R.A.F. Station, YEADON, A.C.2. SYMES attached from R.A.F. Station, KENLEY, and A.C.1. LANGDON of R.A.F. Station, HAWKINGE, were killed. Six airmen received severe injuries and were admitted to the KENT and CANTERBURY HOSPITAL, CANTERBURY. TheCasulaties occurred to personnel employed in No 3 hanger. Two SPITFIRE aircraft, under repair, were seriously damaged, whilst one or two others were struck by splinters. The two non-operational aircraft on charge were damaged but repairable. P.O. N.G. DURHAM reporting on posting from R.A.F. Station, WICK for duty at A.M.E.S., DOVER. F.O. J.D. GABB and F.O. J.H. READ reported on posting for operations room duties.
AIR RAID WARNINGS.
RED 08.35, WHITE 09.25, RED 11.38, WHITE 12.37, RED 23.37, WHITE 23.59

The identification of the attackers as Ju 88s seems incorrect.

Lympne bombed for the second time today

Lympne has 242 craters rendering it out of service. Six of the original hangers are destroyed, including 13 private aircraft that had been locked up inside number 2 hanger at the start of hostilites, as well as domestic accommodation. Repairs to the hangers are hampered by delayed action bombs.

Station personnel are moved out and are accommodated in the village and local area. Port Lympne becomes the temporary officers' mess, French House the sergeants' mess and Lympne Palace the airmen's mess.

Casualties

342519 LAC Bell, Sydney Herbert W/Op killed - multiple injuries enemy bomb during raid.
979309 Cpl J Anderson, Died of heart failure following shrapnel wounds in Ashford General Hospital on August 21st.
979269 AC.2 Clarkson Charles fracture base of skull.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. STATION, LYMPNE.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
LYMPNE. AUGUST
12TH.
1740 HRS. Enemy aircraft attacked aerodrome. TWO SQUADRONS were engaged in this attack. At 1800 HRS (approx) 242 Bombs were dropped in two runs across the aerodrome. Bombs fell in a line almost two miles long. Many fell outside aerodrome boundaries. CASUALTIES. ONE AIRMAN KILLED TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED. by bomb which fell outside aerodrome. Aerodrome surface rendered unserviceable.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. STATION, LYMPNE.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
LYMPNE. AUGUST
21ST.
Weather. Cloudy. Squall & showers in evening. ONE AIRMAN DIED IN HOSPITAL DUE TO INJURIES RECEIVED IN BOMBING ATTACK 12/8/40.

KG2 take off from Cambrai and Saint-Léger-lès-Authie

KG 2 intercepted

Due to the heavy cloud the Observer Corps are unable to get a visual fix on the aircraft and the number of raiders is incorrectly assessed so of the five squadrons scrambled to intercept only 74 Sqn manage to engage them before they reach the Isle of Sheppy and split into two groups: one to attack Sheerness (a Naval base) and the other Eastchurch (a Coastal Command airfield).

KG 2 bomb Eastchurch

At Eastchurch five Coastal Command Blenheims of 32 Sqn, 266 Sqn's ammunition and one of their Spitfires - on loan to CC - were destroyed. There is as direct hit on the Operations Room. 12 people are killed and 40 injured. There are 50 bomb craters on the field.

As the raiders made for home 111 and 151 Sqns attacked them, downing five and damaging several more. Involved in this action was Flt/Lt R.L. Smith of 151 Sqn in the first experimental Hurricane armed with 20mm cannon (L1750) who claimed one kill and one damaged.

Do 17 crashes at Barham

Oblt. Heinz Schlegel's 'Holtzhammer' Do 17Z (U5+KA) comes down the Elham valley on one engine before crashing on the railway line near Barham school, bouncing and slewing into woodland next to the track, the latter being blocked by the separated tail. All the crew survived.

Attacked over the Thames Estuary by a 'Spitfire' that came out of the sun hitting the tail and one engine. Aircraft forced landed and broke in half across the Elham Valley railway line at "Pherbec Bridge", also referenced as Dr. Long's bridge over Greenhill Lane.

The starboard wing clipped a tree, the tail section broke away whilst the fuselage slewed into the scrub and woodland where it came to rest.

Accounts of the crew's capture vary. The Kentish Gazette reports the school cook being startled upon seeing a wounded German airman hobbling down the road towards her whereupon, just as she was wondering what to do, two soldiers suddenly appear and grab him. The newspaper claims the first person to reach the wreckage is Tom Arter who finds the pilot waiting with his hands up and greeting him "Kamerad". Sidney Heathfield (son of Fred) releives the airman of his gun. Schlegel commenting in English: "The Spitfires were much too good for us".

Sergeant Ronald Swann (115th Field Regt. Royal Artillery) was stationed at Beechwood, close to the crash and in charge of the camp guard. Taking the guard with him was first on the scene, disarming and capturing the crew (Obit Schlegal, Obit Oswald (Staffel Füher) Oberfw Babbe and Oberfw Holz) who were extremely dazed and lucky to have survived. Soldiers of the London Scottish Regiment arrived on the scene very soon with fixed bayonets and the aircrew were taken into custody. They are later transferred to a prisoner or war camp.

Pilot: Oberleutnant. Heinz Schlegel. – Captured.
Observer: Oberleutnant. Gerhard Osswald. (Staffelfuehrer) – Captured injured.
Observer 2: Oberfeldwebel. Ernst Holtz. – Captured injured.
Radio/Op: Oberfeldwebel. Gustav Babbe. – Captured injured.

At Barham station Fred Heathfield telephones station master George Caple to report the blockage. At Elham the station master is informed by the railway's factotums, Jack Heathfield and Joe Fox, that an enemy aircraft is blocking the line. The 7.7am [sic] Dover Priory to Canterbury West is terminated at Lyminge on arrival at 7.54, whilst the 7.13 from Canterbury runs as far as Bishopsbourne. Passengers are taken past the closed section of line by bus replacement. The wreckage is removed by 9.15 whilst the district engineer oversaw repairs to the slight damage to the permanent way and the line is reopened at 9.35.

Markings: K in green. Shield: bomb falling from a cloud with man sitting on it, holding a telescope. ID: 58205, AW: grey, Kitzingen, 30/1/40, signed Gamar, FP: -.

Spitfires in action were 74 Sqn but 111 Sqn (Hurricanes) Blue 1 (Sqn Ldr Thompson) is likely to be responsible as his account on page two of his Form "F" combat report (AIR 50/43/85) of damaging both engines of a Dornier that then climbed into the cloud matches that of Schlegel's post war recollection:

Sector Serial No (A)
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 13th August 1940
Flight, Squadron (D) Flight: 'B' Sqdn. No.: 111.
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 24
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Dornier 215 r17.[?]
Time Attack was delivered (G) 0710
Place attack was delivered (H) EASTCHURCH s. Eastwards.
Height of Enemy (J) 3,000'
Enemy Casualties (K) 1 Dornier 215 dest )
1 Dornier damaged )
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Nil.
Personnel (M) Nil.
General Report (R)
At 0550 hours N.111 Squadron took off on a vector of 125° height 12,000'. After 12 minutes we were told to orbit. Shortly after we were ordered to patrol forward base. (HAWKINGE) below clouds and look for enemy aircraft returning from the direction of the ISLE of SHEPPY. No enemy aircraft were seen on this course. On arrival over EASTCHURCH I was unable to contact the ground station by R/T and, owing to poor visibility I went above the clouds. At approximately 0710 hours a formation was observed approaching from the East about 1,000' below us. It was a formation of 3 astern of about 10 aircraft, but owing to the distance they could not be identified. I instructed 'A' Flight leader to remain where he was whilst I took my flight past these aircraft on the port beam to identify them. When I identified them as Dorniers I instructed 'A' Flight leader to carry out a head on attack whilst I took my flight round to the rear. At that moment I observed another formation astern of the first one, so I carried on and executed a head on attack on this from below. Little return fire was observed until the break away. These head on attacks had the effect of breaking up the enemy formation. I then attacked the formation from the rear closing to within 200 yards of the right hand aeroplane. I broke away from this attack and observed another enemy aircraft (Dornier 215) alone over SITTINGBOURNE flying East.(Continued overleaf) / I carried ...
Signature J M Thumpson
Sq/Ldr Blue 1
Section
O.C. Flight
Squadron
111 Squadron No.
Page 2.
I carried out a full deflection attack on this aircraft closing to astern at about 50 yards range. Both engines of this enemy aircraft emitted clouds of white vapour but the pilot pulled up into the clouds which were about 50' above. This enemy aircraft could not possibly have flown more than a few miles. On the return to base over W. MALLING a Dornier 215 appeared out of the clouds ahead of me and I gave him a 2 second burst from about 400 yards dead astern but he immediately went back into the clouds again. Then owing to shortage for fuel I retuned to base and landed.

It is also believed that the aircraft had been attacked by Canadian pilot, and future ace, Flg Off James Walker of No 111 Sqn. As he was also in Blue section he may have also attacked this aircraft but his combat report (AIR 50/43/88) doesn't match as closely as Thompson's.

Sector Serial No (A)
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 13th August 1940.
Flight, Squadron (D) Flight: 'B' Sqdn. No.: 111.
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 24
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Dornier 215.
Time Attack was delivered (G) 0710
Place attack was delivered (H) HERNE BAY
Height of Enemy (J) 3,000'
Enemy Casualties (K) 1 Dornier 215.dest )
1 Dornier damaged )
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Nil.
Personnel (M) Nil.
General Report (R)
I was flying Blue 2, and broke away to intercept a Dornier which was diving under the clouds. I lost this one and returned above cloud and saw enemy aircraft trying to reform, and mad a half and half attack and he disappeared into the cloud. I made a head on attack closing to point blank range and he pulled up sharply and fell away to port. I followed him down but lost him in the haze at about 1500' I noticed rear gunner fire cannon at me as I passed over the top.
Signature JG. D. Walker P/O
Section Blue
O.C. FlightB
Squadron
111 Squadron No.

Do 17 U5+KA fuselage by the side of the Elham Valley Railway with Home-guardsmen inspecting the cockpit.

Do 17 U5+KA wing and tail by the side of the Elham Valley Railway guarded by Police Constable 88 of the Kent Constabulary.

Do 17 U5+KA tail by the side of the Elham Valley Railway. A worker with a fishplate spanner stands beside it.

The incident is recorded in the Barham School diary.

Barham school diary extract from 1940

13th August 1940:
German bomber crashed on railway embankment at top of School Garden at 7.30am.
As there were still live bombs in the plane the Police advised that the school be closed for the day.

16th August 1940:
School closed on Police instructions 13th, 14th, 15th & closed by managers 16th & 19th pending receipt of reply from KEC to representations of parents, that school was no longer to be considered in a safe area and should be closed forthwith and remain closed till suitable air-raid shelters had been provided.

Mary Smith records in her diary:

Nazi bomber overhead about 7:15 a.m. Very sharp AA. It came down across railway just behind Barham Station.

After the war Oblt Heiz Schlegal recalls:

So KG 2 [less I. Gruppe] flew towards the Thames Estuary longing to see a Zerstörer escort. After reaching the Channel, the formation flew into a thick layer of cloud. A single Zerstörer, which presumably was there to draw out attention to the fact that the mission had been cancelled, circled us and disappeared again. It was obviously mistaken for our escort. When, in our estimation, we had reached the target, the clouds became thinner but the target could still not be seen so the formation flew in a wide turn towards London, where we turned around again. Now the formation was on an easterly course.

If I can remember our (Stab) Kette was flying behind the rest of the Geschwader. In the very first plane was a Staffelkapitän who was in radio contact with the Kommodore in our Kette to receive further orders. The whole unit had switched to this wavelength which was the reason that nobody had heard the attack had been cancelled because of bad weather.

The target airfield (Eastchurch) was spotted through a hole in the cloud which was at 800m height - we were flying at 1,500m. After flying another 180° turn, we attacked descending though this hole and dropped our bombs quite accurately. But then, the British fighters came from the east from the direction of the sea where the rising sun prevented us from seeing them. So it came as a complete surprise when their salvoes hit us. Neither the Bordfunker not the Bordmechaniker [flight mechanic] had a chance to shoot. Both were wounded, specifically in their forearms. The aircraft was hit in the fuselage and engines. I succeed in pulling the plane into the thin layer of cloud but soon the port then the starboard engine seized.

I realised that we could not fly back across the Channel again and I did not know if the wounded crew members could operate their parachutes, so the only thing to do was to make a force landing. An open meadow appeared, or it seemed to be open, so was the obvious place. But everywhere in southern Britain, the inhabitants had done things to prevent these meadows from being used by aircraft. Ditches had been dug, earth piled up in ramparts and poles had been rammed into the ground so this friendly meadow turned out to be quite bumpy. The aircraft landed heavily and came to a standstill at a big tree. After we got out and had a look around, some unarmed soldiers appeared. They asked for our pistols – there was no way we could have conquered England with those pistols anyway!

This 1936 aerial photo of Barham station shows the railway bridge over the sunken Greenhills road at the top. Notably it is surrounded by woodland. The school is where Greenhills road meets the Valley road (just off the right of this picture).
Aerial view of Barham station, 1936

Google street view of Greenhills road shows the bridge abutments still remaining and they appear to match the bridge visible behind the Policeman in the photo of the crashed aircraft.

Greenhills road bridge, Barham Kent

Greenhills road bridge, Barham Kent

Pherbec Bridge no longer shows up in the records but there is a mortgage deed from 1997 for "Pherbec Bridge" and a subsequent deed dated 2005 for "Bridge House" - both for the same land certificate title number. Street view shows "Bridge House" next to the old railway bridge on Greenhills:
Bridge House, Green Hills, Barham, Kent

In August 2018 I took a trip to Barham and had a look at the site.

The bridge's ELR is EVL 2056.

Greehnills railway bridge, Barham Kent, with the railway identifier EVL 2056

The tops of the bridge abutments, where the line ran, are now private property so it wasn't possible to closely inspect them, added to which the north side is heavily overgrown. However, the brickwork matches that seen in the contemporary photo with the policeman.

Bridge abutment, Greenhills, Barham, Kent

The line ran in a north-south direction and was singled in 1931 with the removal of the west track. In the above photos the single track is visible indicating that the Policeman is standing on the south west corner of the bride.

As far as I can make out, the picture of the fuselage is skewed - to match the angle of the starboard wing in the picture with the policeman the fuselage would have been on the downslope of the embankment. The stance of the onlookers, and in particular their feet, also support this - as do the tree trunks visible in the background.
Corrected angle of Do 17 U5+KA fuselage by the side of the Elham Valley Railway

It seems from the photos that there was some damage to the south west bridge abutment so linking that with the line being blocked by the severed tail, the obliterated port side of the empennage, the position of the fuselage down the embankment pointing southward, the starboard wing clipping a tree, the approach from the south and I think it's likely the aircraft was spinning when it hit the bridge and that's what removed the tail as shown in this animation:

Barham Do 17 crash animation
Map data taken from the 1939 Ordanance Survey County Series map.

An officer's forage cap and Luftwaffe gravity knife recovered from this aircraft can now be viewed at the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge.

Bf 109 crashes near Denton

Uffz Hans Wemhöner of II/JG 26 (Unit 5) Bails out of his Bf 109E-1 over Elham landing near Henbury, with a wounded (broken) leg. His Bf 109 crashes outside Denton. Shot down by a "Spitfire" over Folkestone which opened up at 500 yards scoring a lucky hit in the engine. JG 26 were intercepted by 56 Sqn. (Hurricanes).

Mary Smith records in her diary:

Air battle at 4pm. Nazi airman down at Parker's by parachute. Leg wound.

Hawkinge bombed by IV.(St)/LG 1

Attacking Hawkinge using 50kg fragmentation bombs, IV.(St)/LG 1 lost two machines to 501 (Hurricane) Sqn. who has been scrambled 30 minutes earlier. They attacked as the Stukas were forming up into their pre-dive echelon.

L1+EV of 10/LG1 is shot down by P/O John Gibson of 501 Sqn. and crashes into 78-82 Shorncliffe Crescent in Folkestone. The pilot Uffz Franz-Heinrich Kraus and observer Uffz Herman Weber are both killed. Kraus bails out and lands outside 81 Harcourt Road with head and leg injuries. He later dies of his injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Stuka crash at 78-82 Shorncliffe Crescent Folkestone 14.08.1940

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) RAF. Station Hawkinge

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Hawkinge August 1940
15th
WEATHER. fine. Inspector General of the R.A.F. visited the station.
Isv. a bombing attack, 11.32 to 11.45 by about 20 DORNIERS, HEINKEL III's and JUNKERS 87 flying at various heights from 300 to 2,000 ft. attack came from all angles. Ground defence guns fired as follows:- V.1. 27 rounds, 1 hit claimed; V.2. 23 rounds, 2 hits on HEINKEL III's claimed; L.M.G. 160 rounds; V.3. 2 rounds, gun jammed; V.4. 18 rounds; L.M.G. 2 rounds. One 'plane hit and seen falling, believed DORNIER, and the hit was confirmed by V.1. about 20 bombs were dropped, two of the heaviest (about 250 Kilos) hit hangers, and smaller (25 or 50 Kilos) on aerodrome surface. One small barrack block destroyed. There were no casualties.

54 Squadron Intelligence report includes formation of He 113s

12 a/c 54 Squadron engaging the enemy over Kent 12:40 - 13:43 hours.

54 Squadron, operating from Manston, was ordered to investigate several enemy raids of unknown dimension and at great height over Kent. Subsequently the whole of Kent was covered with enemy raids. 54 Squadron operated in sections and engaged a number of single fighters and bombers.

Several large formations were sighted at 20,000 feet coming in from the coast towards Biggin Hill. One of these consisted of at least 80 bombers in waves of three - line abreast. Two of our pilots below said this looked like a huge oblong which was supported by many fighters circling above and in front. Unfortunately our fighters were not able to get at this formation owing to height and distance away from them.

54 Squadron must have met a number of individual machines on their return because a series of dog fights ensued.

The following points of interest emerge from the combat:

  1. It was emphasised once again that the Me 109 has difficulty in pulling out of a dive at low altitude. A Me 109 following on the tail of a Spitfire crashed through this failure.
  2. A formation of 12 He 113s were split up by one pilot who managed to damage one.
  3. The main formation could not be approached.
  4. Camouflage was standard in each type, plus the yellow wing tips on the fighters.

No Me110s were encountered. This is perhaps explained by the fact that only Me110s were encountered in a later raid during the day. In this later raid no Me109s were met by our fighters.

Signed; Patrick Shallard F/O. Intelligence Officer, R.A.F. Hornchurch.

Quoted without archive reference in Battle of Britain Combat Archive volume 5.

JG 26 bounce 501 Sqn. as they try to gain height over Canterbury

Twelve Hurricanes of 501 Sqn. are gaining height over Canterbury when they are sighted by III/JG 26 in their Bf 109s.

With the rest of the Bf 109s covering from above, Oberleutnant Gerhart Shöpfel, leading the Gruppe in the absence of Adolf Galland, closed in on the formation of Hurricanes. The two weavers are dispatched with one quick burst each from close range, he then slides into position behind the rear vic and dispatches two more before debris from his fourth victim (P/O Kenneth Lee) causes him to break off his attack. The rest of the Bf 109s, which had been covering from above, now join in and an inconclusive dog fight ensues.

Shöpfel recalls:

They were using the English tactics of that period, flying in close formation of threes, climbing up in a wide spiral. About 1,000m above, I turned with them and managed to get behind the two covering Hurricanes which were weaving continuously. I waited until they were once more heading away from Folkestone and had turned northwest and then pulled round out of the sun and attacked from below. The Englishmen continued on, having noticed nothing. So I pulled in behind a forth machine and took care of him but this time I went in too close. When I pressed the firing button the Englishman was so close in front of my nose that pieces of wreckage struck my propeller.

The 501 Squadron Intelligence Report states:

Engagement of No 501 Squadron with large force of Me 109s and Me 100s on the 18th August, 1940 at 13:00 hours.

No 501 Squadron, consisting of 12 Hurricanes, took off from Hawkinge at 12:30 approximately, and patrolled the east Kent area at 12,000 feet. When flying north-west near Sandwich they sighted a large force of bombers with and escort of Me 110s and 109s (about 20 plus) approaching from the east. 'A' Flight on the left attempted to attack the fighters, while 'B' Flight became involved in a general dog-fight with the Me 109s and 110s. P/O Zenker in Green Section managed to damadge the Me 109s which was straggling. Enemy casualties were 1 Me 109 damaged. Our own losses were K N T Lee bailed out (wounded). P/O F.Kzłowski (Polish) baled out (seriously wounded). Sgt D A S Mc Kay baled out (slightly wounded). P/O J W Bland killed.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) No. 501 Squadron.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Gravesend 1940 AUGUST
18.
PM The squadron was at 15 mins[?]. Available from Dawn to 0830 hours when the aircraft took off for Hawkinge. An engagement took place in the Canterbury area in broken cloud and haze. The engagement developed into a general dog-fight and the following casualties were sustained - P/O.K.N.T.Lee wounded in the leg; P/O.Kozlowski seriously injured; Sgt.McKay slight burns; P/O.J.W.Bland killed. The Squadron returned to Gravesend. All aircraft were ordered off the ground. They were vectored to Biggin Hill which was being attacked. Pilot Officer Dafforn bailed out but was injured.
Seven Hurricanes took off for Hawkinge at 1650 hours to patrol forward Base. An enemy force of 50 bombers and fighters was encountered. Red section attacked 2 Me 110's were shot down. Flight Lieutenant G.E.B.Stonay was killed in this engagement. Red Section were ordered to Night Readiness.

Ramsgate airfield bombed

20 He 111 (or 30+ Do 17) drop 13 tons of bombs onto Ramsgate's civilian airfield, a quater of the estimated 210 bombs fall on the airfield - the rest causing extensive damage to the town.

151 Sqn. (Hurricanes) intercept the Bf 109 escorts from III./JG 26 on the right flank over Manston and 610 Sqn. (Spirfires) engage the left flank escorts of III./(J)LG 2 over Ramsgate. The bombers are not engaged.

"To Defeat the Few" says it was He 111 but the "Battle of Britain Combat Archive" says Do 17s.

32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Dover

32 Squadron Intelligence Report

12 Hurricanes of 32 Squadron took off from Hawkinge at 14.40 hours to patrol; they were attacked by 12 Me109s who were flying at 20,000 feet north of Dover. As the patrol climbed after them the Me109s climbed away, then when an opportune moment arrived they dived on to the Hurricanes. F/Lt Brothers DFC shot one down into the sea. Sgt Aslin saw an Me 109 heading out to sea with smoke pouring from it but does not claim it. F/O Smythe DFC was shot down and crashed - he is in hospital (Royal Masonic) wounded. P/O Pniak was also shot up and bailed out and is injured in hospital.
10 aircraft landed at Hawkinge at 15.41 hours. The other two crashed.
F/Lt Brothers was leading Blue Section when the Me109s dived on them. He fired several short bursts at tow or three and then lost them through 'blacking out'. Climbing up to 20,000 feet he engaged them again and getting on the tail of one gave him two 3 second bursts. Part of the starboard wing came away and he dived into the sea about 10 miles south-east of Dover. F/Lt Brothers followed the e/a down and then returned to base. 1 Me109 destroyed.
P/O Pniak was flying No.3 of Blue Section. He was attacked head on by one of the 12 Me109s from above. Circling round he got on the e/a's tail and gave him two more bursts of 2 seconds; much black smoke poured out. This was probably the Me109 seen by Sgt Aslin. At this moment he was himself attacked and set on fire; he put his aircraft into a dive to land but had to bale out at 5,000 feet. He landed very fast as his parachute did not open properly and was full of large holes. His knee and ankle were injured and he was taken to hospital but has now returned. One Me109 probably destroyed.

Quoted in Battle of Britain Combat Archive v.6

Continue reading "32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Dover"