JG2 clash with 19 Sqn

It was on 26 May that JG 2 ‘Richthofen’ first clashed with UK-based RAF Spitfires. That indefatigable diarist Paul Temme takes up the story;

Stuka attack against the citadel at Calais and shipping offshore. I am to fly cover with 2. Staffel. It’s 220 km (136 miles) from Signy to the Channel coast! There won’t be much time left for dogfighting when we get there. Over Calais we bump into a Blenheim, which is immediately despatched by Leutnant Hoffmann.

Just as the Stukas begin to dive on the ships, English Spitfires appear in great numbers. We are eight against 20. A vicious free-for-all develops. Time and again the Spitfires try to get at the Stukas, but Oberleutnant Bethke, leader of the attack Schwarm, keeps them well at bay.

I also get in a few bursts, the only result being that the Spitfire I am aiming at quickly sheers away and disappears from sight. Then I am attacked by two more Spitfires. One gets on my tail. But he’s a lousy shot. I let him sit there while I call up my wingman, Feldwebel Leipelt, on the R/T. He bores in to close range and sends the Spitfire down in flames. Bravo Leipelt!

The dogfight against the Tommies lasts a little while longer and then our fuel situation forces us to break off the action. We and the Stukas all reach home safely. Five kills! Including one to me!

I./JG 2’s likely opponents, No 19 Sqn, did indeed lose four Spitfires in the Calais area on this date, with a fifth force-landing on the Kent coast.

19 Squadron Intelligence Report

19 Squadron patrolling over Dunkirk at 10,000 feet sighted 18 Junkers 87, in vics of 3 spread over sky. Ahead of them and above were 30 Me109s in seven vics of 5. 19 Squadron attacked Junkers singly and caused considerable damage before Me109s came up. These did not attempt any definiate attack, but tried to cut our pilots off the Junkers.

Some of the Junkers were equipped with cannon and they used the usual evasive tactics of stalling in attempt to make our Spitfires overtake. This is usually successful but affords excellent target for short period. In two cases the Junkers formed a circel of 3 tull Me109s came, then dived for the ground and hedge hopped away.

The Me109s approached in lines of 5 astern and when remainder of Junkers had escaped, disappeared as rapidly as possible in all directions. Our aircraft returned with only 5 gallons of petrol.

Our caualties - 1 pilot bailed out, plane in flames. 1 pilot smoke from engine last seen in a dive over french soil. Names S/Ldr Stephenson and P/O Watson. No confirmation of who was in which plane. Two, P/O Sinclair and F/Sgt Irwin, landed Manston short of petrol.

Pilots: S/Ldr Stephenson, F/Sgt Clouston, F/Sgt Lane, F/O Brinsden, F/O Call, F/O Petre, F/O Sinclair, P/O Lyne, P/O Watson, F/Sgt Potter, F/Sgt Steere, F/Sgt IRwin.

(Quoted in Dunkirk Air Combat Archive.)

III./JG 52 carry out a <i>freie Jagd</i>

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.

Obltn. Frieidrich Butterweck

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.

In his post-war memoirs R.W. Bailey of Ladwood Farm east of Elham recalls:

The first pane crash we saw was on a lovely summer morning. There was the usual sound of screaming engines above mingled with the pop, pop, of the GErmand Messerschmitts and the quicker machine guns of the Hurricanes and Spitfires. It was hazy overhead that morning, almost impossible to distinguish the panes, when suddenly we saw one coming down out of the sky from the direction of Acrise, with smoke pouring from it. It soon became like a burning torch, with pices falling off it and it crashed near Standard Hill Farm. Later that day we learned that it was a German fighter, the pilot had bailed out, but his parachute had failed to open and he crashed to his death, yes, at Etchinghill. Later I saw George Godden, He told me that about the same time a Hurricane had landed in his field and the pilot had just managed to stop with his nose practically touching George's cowshed. This pilot told George that he had shot down two Gerries that morning and then was forced to land as he was out of fuel. After that date things really hotted (sic) up in the Battle of Britain.

Was the Hurricane pilot (P/O Barton)[../p-o-a-r-barton]?

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 Bekesbourne 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 camouflaged Hurricanes climbing to intercept the bombers.

The bombers throw out confetti, toilet paper and hand grenades 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 withdrawn on 8 June and the airfield obstructed by stakes to prevent it being used by invading forces.

Sorces: Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust

P/O A R Barton

Shot down over Dover in Hurricane N2596, crashed near Elham.

On the same day that Frieidrich Butterweck crashed at Standard Hill farm R.W. Bailey of Ladwood Farm east of Elham recalls in his post war memoir:

Later I saw George Godden, He told me that about the same time a Hurricane had landed in his field and the pilot had just managed to stop with his nose practically touching George's cowshed. This pilot told George that he had shot down two Gerries that morning and then was forced to land as he was out of fuel. After that date things really hotted (sic) up in the Battle of Britain.

P/O Barton is the only Hurricane recorded as lost in that area on this date. His combat record (AIR 15/16/2) does not include a Form F for this date and, likewise, there is no casualty file for him on this date. Even expanding the date rate out I have find no other Hurricane or Spitfire that could fit this incident.

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

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences to Appendices
HawkingeAugust 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.

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences 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.

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences 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.