F/Lt. Deere encounters He 113s escorting bombers over the Thames Estuary

Sector Serial No(A)D 2.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol(B)
Date(C)24/7/40
Flight, Squadron(D)Flight A Squadron 54
No. of Enemy Aircraft(E)42 (Approx.)
Type of Enemy Aircraft(F)Do.215 ME. 109
HE 113
Time Attack was delivered(G)12.25
Place attack was delivered(H)Thames Estuary
Height of Enemy(J)7,000 Feet
Enemy Casualties(K)Confirmed One Me109 destroyed identified
Three Me109s fired at
Our Casualties Aircraft(L)NIL
Personnel(M)NIL
Searchlights(N)(i) NIL
A.A. Guns Assistance(ii) NIL
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range Opened 350 Yards
Length of burst Various
Range closed 150 Yards
No. of Rounds per Gun 1331
General Report(R)
While patrolling Deal at 7,000 Feet a large formation of enemy bombers was observed flying up the Thames Estuary, behind and above Bombers were 3? ME 109's and further 12 above and in cloud. I told Blue leader to go for the first three and I would take my section above and after the nine above. At that moment nine HE. 113's came from behind and I saw them in time to avert being shot at. I managed to stall turn into their tails and fire a burst into the centre of the formation which broke up. 109's then came down from above and a Dog Fight ensued. I had general wild bursts at various aircraft, but was unable to get a decent bead because of constant attacks from behind. I managed however one decent long burst at a 109 at close range and he went down with glycol pouring from his machine.
Rabbit Red Leader.
Sgd. A.C.Deere. F/Lt.
A C Deere

(AIR/50/21/105)

F/O McMullen attacked by He 113s over the Thames Estuary

Sector Serial No(A)D 2
Serial No. of order detailing patrol(B)
Date(C)24/7/40
Flight, Squadron(D)12 aircraft 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft(E)Big Formation
Type of Enemy Aircraft(F)ME.109's HE.113's
Time Attack was delivered(G)12.25
Place attack was delivered(H)Thames Estuary
Height of Enemy(J)7,000 Feet
Enemy Casualties(K)Confirmed One ME. 109 destroyed unconfirmed
Unconfirmed 1 ME109 Probable
Our Casualties Aircraft(L)NIL
Personnel(M)NIL
Searchlights(N) (i)NIL
A.A. Guns Assistance(ii)NIL
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Ranged opened 200 Yards.
Length of burst Various
Ranged closed 100 Yards
No. of Rounds per Gun 2057
General Report. (R) I was patrolling with Red Section as Red 2. Blue Leader reported Bombers to our North as we were over Deal. Whilst turning off to attack the fighters, 12-15 HE.113's came up alongside from our rear. We took evasive action and finished up behind them, at the same time a squadron at least of 109's appeared. I sprayed the enemy formation as did Red1. This proving very effective. The section broke and I went into cloud. When I came out I saw approximately 6,000 feet below two ME.109's in a tight V. I attacked from above and behind, and the leader went into the sea. I turned my fire on to No. 2. Large clouds of Black Smoke came out, and bits fell off, enemy aircraft staggered. I then went home.
Sgd. D.A.P. McMullen F/O.
DAP. McMullen F/o.

(AIR/50/21/49)

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)

54 Sqn transfer from Hornchurch to Manston

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
R 6893 P.O. Gray 0515 0540 To Manston 12.8.40
R 6893 P.O. Gray 0515 0540 ,, ,,
R 6815 P.O. Kemp 0515 0540 ,, ,,
R 6914 P.O. Turley George 0515 0540 ,, ,,
R 7021 P.O. Hopkin 0515 0540 ,, ,,
R 6981 F/Lt. Deere 0520 0540 To Manston 12.8.40
X 4019 P.O. Coleman 0520 0540 ,, ,,
R 7017 P.O. Campbell 0520 0540 ,, ,,
R 7019 P.O. Matthews 0520 0540 ,, ,,
R 6814 P.O. Howes 0520 0540 ,, ,,

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.

54 Sqn Scramble

Spitfires of 54 Sqn scramble from Manston.

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
R 7021 P.O. Hopkin 0730 0835 Patrol as Ordered 12.8.40
R 6893 P.O. Gray 0730 0845   ,, ,,
R 6708 F/Sgt. Tew 0730 0800   ,, ,,
R 6899 Sgt. Robbins 0730 0855   ,, ,,
R 6815 P.O. Kemp 0730 Patrol as Ordered, Force Landed at Lympe
R 6914 P.O. Turley George 0730   ,, ,, ,, ,,
R 6981 F/Lt. Deere 0735 0950 Patrol, Landed at Hornchurch
X 4019 P.O. Coleman 0735 0950 Patrol, Landed at Manston
R 7017 P.O. Campbell 0735 0905 Patrol, Landed at Hornchurch
R 7019 P.O. Matthews 0735 0900   ,, ,, ,,
R 6814 P.O. Howes 0735 0855 Patrol, Landed at Manston

Most later returned to Hornchurch.

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
X 4019 P.O. Coleman 0920 0940 To Hornchurch 12.8.40
R 6814 P.O. Howes 0920 0945 ,, ,,
R 6708 F/Sgt. Tew 0930 0950 ,, ,,
R 6898 Sgt. Norwell 0930 0950 ,, ,,
R 7021 P.O. Hopkin 0930 0950 ,, ,,
R 6899 Sgt. Robbins 0930 0950 ,, ,,
R 6893 P.O. Gray 0930 0950 ,, ,,

P.O. Gray is credited with 2 Bf 109s and P.O. Matthews is credited with one certain and one probable.

P.O. Kemp and P.O. Turley George are both injured. (It is notable that they force land at Lympne which, by the end of the day, has been bombed out of action.)

15 Do 17 Bomb Lympne

15 Do 17s from I/KG 2 escorted by JG 54 come in low over Romney Marsh and rise up over the escarpment and drop 50kg bombs which explode in straight lines, the landing ground is cratered and a hanger is damaged.

Crews report dropping 90 110-lb bombs on hangars and buildings, although they also state that the full effect of their attack could not be gauged due to mist.

54 Sqn Spitfires are scrambled from Manston but are intercepted by JG 54's Bf 109s out of the sun - possibly over Dover - before they can reach the bombers. Two Spitfires force land at Lympne and are forced to swerve to avoid the craters.

All the Do 17s return home 45 minutes later, without radar Fighter Command are unable to find them.

This raid is intended to keep Lympne based interceptors on the ground and not interfere with the attacks on the radar stations.

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

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences to Appendices
LYMPNE. AUGUST
12TH.
Weather. Fair. 0800 HRS. STATION attacked by enemy aircraft. 141 Bombs dropped in a few seconds. Damage caused to hangers, offices and landing ground. NO CASUALTIES.

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.

Manston attacked

20 Bf 110s and Bf 109s of EprGr bomb and strafe then, 20 minutes later, 18 I/KG 2 Do 17s come in at low level and drop 150 250kg and fragmentation bombs cratering the airfield, destroying the workshops and damaging two hangers.

Crews involved from KG2 state that considerable damage has been inflicted on the target.

54 Sqn had tried to intercept the bombers but hadn't been able to get past the Bf 109 escorts.

65 Sqn (Spitfires) were taxiing out for take off when the bombs started falling. Most managed to get airborne and joined 54 Sqn's melee with the escort fighters.

With the escort tied up the bombers were unprotected as they returned and faced determined attack from 56 Sqn's Hurricanes.

A thin layer of chalk dust lies across the airfield which is declared out of action for more than a day.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. Station MANSTON

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences to Appendices
MANSTON.12.8.401250.The aerodrome was heavily attacked by approximately 15 M.E.110's and some HEINKELS and bombed at low altitude. Some 150 H.E. bombs were dropped. The aerodrome was pitted with approximately 100 craters, and rendered temporarily unserviceable.
Two handers were damaged, and Workshops were destroyed. In the latter building a civilian clerk was killed, this being the only fatal casualty.
The raid lasted approximately five minutes.

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