II./JG 52 arrive at Peuplingues

Since late June Hauptmann von Kornatzki’s II./JG 52 have been deployed along Germany’s North Sea coastal belt, during which time it has been able to claim two RAF Blenheim IVs off the Friesian Islands.

Lt. Johann Böhm shot down near Elham

The Bf 109 E3 (WNr 1162) White 4 of 4./JG51 flown by 18 year old Lt. Johann Böhm which crash lands in a sheep field on Hillhouse Farm at Bladbean.

A Schwarm of Josef Fözö's 4. Staffel is headed off and chased by Spitfires of 74 Sqn. (Probably took off from Desvres, near Boulogne.) In a formation of four aircraft, flying in line astern chasing a Spitfire, this aircraft is caught from below by another Spitfire which shot into the engine. The pilot puts the aircraft into a dive to escape but is hit in the non self-sealing fuel tank and crash lands with undercarriage retracted.

The form 'F' combat report (AIR/50/32/91) from Sgt E A Mould of 74 Sqn (Hornchurch) reads:

Sector Serial No (A) D.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B) 159
Date (C) 8/7/40.
Flight, Squadron (D) Red Section 'A' Flt. No. 74 Squadron
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) FOUR.
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Me. 109.
Time Attack was delivered (G) 1600 hrs. approx
Place attack was delivered (H) Dover and District
Height of Enemy (J) 5,000 ft.
Enemy Casualties (K) Confirmed. ONE
Unconfirmed. Nil.
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. 300 yds.
Length of Burst. 5 x 3 secs.
Rage Closed. 100 yds.
No. of rounds per gun
General Report (R) See Report appended.
P Mould.741299
Sgt. Red Leader "A" Flt.
74 Squadron.
I was Red Leader of "A" Flight No 74 Sqn, with No 2. of Blue Section also in company. The four of us were on interception patrol over Dover when I sighted four Me 109s flying in line astern on my starboard beam. I gave the order 'Line Astern' and turned to starboard climbing up under the tail of the rear Me 109. I gave him a short 30° deflection shot and he immediately half-rolled and dived to ground level followed by Red 2. In trying to follow him I blacked myself out and lost sight of him, but I saw another Me 109 also flying at low level so I dived on him from about 3,000 ft. He immediately dived to ground level and used evasive tactics by flying along the valleys behind Dover and Folkestone, which only allowed me to fire short deflection bursts at him.After two of these bursts smoke or vapour came from the radiator beneath his port wing and other bursts appeared to enter the fuselage.

He eventually landed with his wheels up as I fired my last burst at him in a field near Elham. The pilot was apparently uninjured and I circled round him until he was taken prisoner.

In the evening 81-year-old local farmer George Palmer was taken to see the aircraft, ignoring the guard and the cordons he went up to it and prodded his stick. With his curiosity satisfied he helped Walter Keeler, who farmed the land and had lost ten ewes to the plane as it skidded across the field, round up the rest of his sheep that were still wandering around.

Bf 109 under guard after forced landing at Bladbean

Bf 109 under guard after forced landing at Bladbean

Bf 109 under guard after forced landing at Bladbean

Bf 109 under guard after forced landing at Bladbean

Bf 109 under guard after forced landing at Bladbean

Johan Böhm is taken to Broome Park.

Lt. Böhm is escorted by the London Scots
Johann Böhm being escorted by Pte. R. W. Miles, Prov. Sgt. W. F. Waterman and Piper W. McDougal of the London Scottish at Broome Park.
Johan Böhm under guard at Broome Park, August 1940
Reverse of photo of Johan Böehm in captivity at Broome Park, August 1940
Broome Park Nr Canterbury


German pilot of plane age 20 taken at Broome Park Denton near Canterbury was fetched down in a field near here.  The man was arrogant and kept saying that they would be winning the war in two or three weeks time  The plane on other two snaps

The aircraft was brought through the main road in Elham the next evening.
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 4./JG 51, White 4, Johann Böhm, WNr 1162 being recovered from Bladbean, Kent, August 1940

Air Intelligence Report (9/8/1940)

The aircraft carried a 4 - in white with a Red border.
It had a Staffel sign of a Raven with Spectacles, and an Umbrella under its arm.
The aircraft was Works No. 1162 built by ERLA Maschinenwerke, fitted with a D.B.601 engine. The armament consisted of two synchronised 7.92mm M.G.s, firing through the airscrew disc, and two 20mm wing cannons.
On primary interrogation, the pilot would give away no information, but a paper in his possession shows he was at Desvres (near Boulogne) on July 5th. There was a permit, dated 29/6/40 from Luftgau Kommando VI, which also referred to II/JG51.

AI(K) Report (10/8/1940)

This aircraft was one of a formation of four, flying in line astern, chasing a Spitfire. Other Spitfires were climbing towards them from below, and as they approached the pilot turned off, and was hit by one of the Spitfires in the engine.
He went into a dive and reached a speed of of 700 kilometers per hour (435mph) but the Spitfire followed him in a dive, firing continually. He pilled out when withing 1,500 feet of the ground.
Böhm had been two years in the German Air Force.
On the outbreak of war, he was at the Jagdfliegerschule, Schiesheim, and was posted to his present Staffel (4/JG51) on December 6h. Since that time he has done some 95 War Flights, many of which, however, were ordinary patrols along the frontier.

Johan Böhm's awards: EK 2, Wound Badge, Fighter Operational Clasp
The aircraft had a complete circle of armour plate built to the shape of the fuselage just behind the pilot's seat.
ID: 65176, AW: pink, Menningen, 27/2/20. FP: L04579

Under interrogation the pilot would not give away any information. A piece of paper found on him showed he was in Desveres on 5th July 1940, also he had a permit dated 29th June 1940 from Luftgau Kommando VI which referred to II/JG51. The pilot had been in the German Air Force for two years and had carried out ninety-five War Flights. At the outbreak of war he was at the Jagdfligerschule Schliesheim and was posted to his present Staffel on 6th December 1939.

Depending on the account, this is either the first Messerchmitt, the first Bf 109 or the first fighter shot down over England or Britain. Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz has another aircraft on the same day as this as the first Bf 109 to be shot down onto British soil but that seems to have been shot down several hours after this aircraft.

As the official start of the Battle of Britain is two days after this, references to this in the sources are limited.

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 4.JG51 White 4 (Kagero)

In August 2018 I took a trip to Bladbean and, by referencing the photos of the crash site, found the field.

Bladbean farm behind Hillhouse

Bladbean farm behind Hillhouse

Viewed from the valley road the field is on the relatively flat crest of the west side of the Elham Valley and there's a scarp slope dropping into the valley itself.

Bladbean farm viewed from the Elham Valley road

Viewed from the south of the field there's a reasonable space to put down a fighter but with a hedged road on the left and the scarp on the right there wasn't much room for error.

Bladbean farm viewed from the south

Scale map of the crash site, details taken from the OS County Series: KENT 1939 1:2,500.
Map of Bf 109 crash site at Bladbean, Kent

Leutnant Albert Stribney shot down near Sandwich

The Bf 109 E-3 (WNr 2964) of 3./LG2 flown by Leutnant Albert Stribney is shot down by Spitfires over Dover and crashes at Buckland Farm between Sandwich and Eastry. Stribney bails out and is taken POW.

"In spite of our efforts to try and gain more speed, in no time they were on us and the battle was short. Whilst I was behind a Spitfire, another was behind me. I hear the sound as if one throws peas against a metal sheet and my cabin was full of dark smoke. I felt splashes of fuel on my face so I switched off the electrical system, dived back into the cloud and threw off the cabin roof. The smoke disappeared and I could breathe freely and noticed that from the wings there came white streams of glycol. Whilst diving, I tried several times to start the engine, switching on the electrical system, but in vain. When I came out of cloud, I decided to bale out and undid the clasp of my seat belt and was about to climb onto the seat and jump when I thought of the high speed of the aircraft and I was afraid to be thrown against the tailplane so I pulled back the stick and slowed the aircraft down. This took a matter of seconds; I did a half roll and fell out."

A party from 49 Maintenance Unit, RAF Faygate, recovered as much of the aircraft as they were able.

Wreckage of Bf 109 E3 WNr 2964 being recovered by 49 Maintenance Unit

The unit emblem of Mickey Mouse carrying an umbrella can be seen.

Wreckage of Bf 109 E3 WNr 2964 being recovered by 49 Maintenance Unit

The DB601 engine was buried too deep for 49 MU to recover and this was excavated by the Brenzett Aeronautical Museum in the late 1970s.

LG 2 were based at St. Inglevert/Pihen.

On 6/1/1942 I/LG 2 was redesignated I/JG77 and 3 staffel retained their insignia.

3./JG 77's Mickey Mouse with umbrella insignia

Sources: Dunkirk 1940, ww2.dk

JG 26 Arrive in the Pas-de-Calais

JG 26 Stab and First Gruppe arrive at a former grain field at Audembert on the Channel coast near Calais.

They are equipped with Bf 109E-4s but many older Bf 109E-1s with additional seat and back armour are still on strength.

III./JG 52 arrives at Coquelles

It joins Major von Bernegg's Geschwaderstab (based at Le Touquet) on the Channel coast.

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 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.

III./JG 52 withdrawn from Channel operations

Under acting-Kommandeur Hauptmann Wilhelm Ensslen the Gruppe is withdrawn to Leeuwarden, and subsequently from there back to Zerbst to recuperate and resume its homeland defence role.

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.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References 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.

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.

EprGr 210 Take off from Calais-Mark

16 aircraft, comprised of Bf 110C-6/D-0 and Bf 109E-4/B Jabos, take off to try and disable the British radar network with precision strikes.

III/JG 53 take off from Guînes

These are the Bf 109 escorts for EprGr 210.

151 Sqn and 501 Sqn attack IV StG 1 off Margate

15 Hurricanes attack 22 Ju 87s returning after attacking convoys Arena and Agent north of Margate. One Stuka is shot down before Adolf Galland's III/JG 26 arrive shooting down two Hurricanes and damaging two more.

Margate motor lifeboat J. B. Proudfoot is launched to pick up the survivors of Admiralty trawlers Pyrope and Tamarisk.

KG 51 bomb Ventnor radar and Portsmouth harbour

Escorted by 120 Bf 110s of III/ZG 76 and 25 Bf 109s of JG 53 as top cover are picked up by Polling radar at noon: a large formation approaching Brighton from due south before crossing the coast they turn west. As they cross in front of Polling and behind Ventor they are tracked by the ROC, splitting as they come to Spithead.

15 specially selected crews (II/KG 51) dive bomb droping 500kg bombs on Ventnor radar station taking it out of action for three days.  15 of the 74 bombs land in the complex.

A second formation of 70(68?) Ju 88s attacks Portsmouth harbour with horizontal and diving bomb runs in the face of 50 barrage balloons and intensive AA fire from guns on shore and ships. The bombers take advantage of the corridor through the barrage balloons at the harbour entrance.

The Hurricanes and Spitfires of 10 Group (152 , 213 & 609 Sqns) scrambled to intercept are vectored in by controllers in small groups and focus on the bombers whilst their escort, circling at 3,000m, wait for a large fighter group to arrive. As more and more bombers are shot down the escort realise that no large formation is going to present itself as a target and engages in the combat.

In the ensuing melee - that involved nearly 300 fighters in total - 13 RAF fighters are shot down and four are damaged, and five Bf 110s and two Bf 109s are lost.

More Bf 109s - the escort for the return leg - are seen heading west but Fighter Command vectors 615 Sqn's Hurricanes between them and the battle over the Isle of Wight.

12(9?) Do 17s were lost including that of the Geschwaderkommodore Oberst Dr Johnan-Volkmar Fisser who lead the attack on Ventnor.

Later German reconnaissance of Ventnor reports craters in the vicinity of the masts and station quarters on fire.