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 (Probably took off from Desvres, near Boulogne) is headed off and chased by Spitfires of 74 Sqn. 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.

The form 'F' combat report (AIR/50/32/108) from P/O Stevenson 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) "A" Flight, 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-Folkestone (towards Ashford)
Height of Enemy (J) 5,000' to 20'
Enemy Casualties (K) ONE (most probable). Confirmed. NIL. Unconfirmed
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Crashed on landing (ONE)
Personnel (M) Nil.
Searchlights (N) (i) N/A.
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) N/A
Fire for Fighters (Measured or Estimated) (P) Range opened. 400 yds. Length of Burst. 2 x 5; 8 x 3 secs. Rage Closed. 200 yds. No. of rounds per gun 350.
General Report (R) See Report appended.
P Stephenson. P/O. (33521) "A" Flt. No. 74 Squadron.
I was on patrol over Dover as Red 2 No.74 Squadron at 6,000 ft. when FOUR Me.109's were sighted at 5,000 ft. approaching from the south, in line astern. Two enemy aircraft broke away and flew towards the East. I gave chase, following Red Leader. Read leader gave the enemy aircraft a short 30° deflection burst. The enemy aircraft then did a vertical stall down to the right and as it dived down I flew on to its tail as I saw red Leader was unable to do so. I followed the enemy aircraft down to ground level from 5,000 ft. to 50 ft. I fired at it on the way down. I noticed the enemy aircraft firing his guns on the dive and also when we flew along a road. I gave several long bursts and hit both the radiators in the first burst. The enemy aircraft was enveloped with black oil smoke. I followed the enemy aircraft for 5 mins. low flying the whole time a fill speed. I broke away when I saw a machine flying behind me. When I had broken away I saw it was a Hurricane. I returned to Manston. Since Confirmed.

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.

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

I well remember the first German fighter I saw which was close enough to identify and it was bery close indeed. I was cleaning off the dropping boards of our old black house as we called it in Barn field. I had been out with the first load of manure and I could see the usual mass of vapour trails in the sky in the Dover area and heard the whine of the planes. Then, quite suddenly, there was a deafening roar of planes and a loud burst of machine gun fire and a German fighter appeared just over the beeches, with a Spitfire right on its tail. The firing came from the Spitfire and the German, I could plainly see the crosses on its wings, weaved and twisted, to avoid the Spitfire's bullets. They disappeared in a matter of seconds over Henbury. I knew the German was down because the Spitfire pilot circled round once or twice more and did a victory roll. The German pilot actually landed at Bladbean, he was unharmed he said he was only 18.

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.

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

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)

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.

P/O Gibson claims an He 113 destroyed over Lympne

Sector Serial No (A)
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 12.8.40.
Flight, Squadron (D) Flight: "A" Sqdn.: 501
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) Two
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) HE. 113.
Time Attack was delivered (G) 17.35
Place attack was delivered (H) Lympne
Height of Enemy (J) 6'000,
Enemy Casualties (K) One. HE.113 (Confirmed) destroyed
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) 1 Hurricane forced landed
Personnel (M) See Below. Nil.
Searchlights: (Did they illuminate enemy if not, were they in front or behind?)(N.1)N/A
A.A. Guns: (Did shell bursts assist Pilot intercepting enemy?)(N.2)N/A
Range at which fire was opened in in each attack delivered, together with estimated length of bursts.(P) Range opened. 400 - 100yds Length of Burst. 2 Bursts of 4 seconds
Total No. of rounds fired 1300
Name of Pilot (Block Letters) J.A.A. Gibson.
General Report (R) See Over.
I was No.2. in Red Section when the Squadron was ordered off to Patrol Hawkinge. The enemy was sighted approaching Lympne from the South West. There were about 20 Machines and I think that they were Do. 17s. Behind[?] and above was a very strong formation of fighters. Looking behind our own Squadron I noticed that the rear sections and red section No.3. were not there. I afterwards learned that they had pursued some E/A that were below us. This left only the Squadron Leader any myself and we carried on traveling West climbing into the sun. As we were turning to the right to deliver the attack I noticed in the rear vision mirror an aircraft diving. I called to Red 1 about it and pulled away to the right and saw two Heinkel 113's on my tail. I dived into and got out of a cloud and found the two E/A behind me on the left. From this time on I did not see Red 1. I began steep turning to the right and finally managed to turn to the right inside and catch up one of the E/A. I gave him two burst and suddenly saw him turn over on his back and go down over the vertical. The other E/A had been circling above and came down as I got on the tail of the first. As I dived down following the first E/A I saw white tracer coming from behind. I Immediately dived into another cloud but could not find the other E/A when I emerged again I then returned to base.
Ja Gibson
Red 2 Red Section
501 Sqadron.

AIR/50/162/21

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.

DATE (C) 13th August
FLIGHT & SQN & SECTION (D) ??? 151 - Blue One
No of E/A and Type (E & F) Fifty Plus - Dorner 215s & 17s
Time of attack (G) 06.45
Place "  " (H) 15 miles ENE of Manston
Height of Enemy (J) 8,000 ft approx
Enemy Casualties (and classification) (K) One Dornier 215 (caught fire) ?????
confirmed by Sgt Clarke
Our Casualties (A/C) (L) Nil
(Pilots) (M)
Fire from fighters estimated (P) 2 Cannons only
Range opened 300yds
Length of Burst 4secs
Range Closed 100yds
No. of rounds Unknown
General Report (R)

I was leading three sections of 151 Squadron (Blue, Yellow, Green) - the C.O & Reds having been separated coming through the clouds from Rochford due to the turning to get into the patrol, which was was ordered for 12 miles South of Manston. The clouds were from 3000 to 5000 ft, with continuous layers everywhere, with a small gap over towards Dunkirk, ??? ??? so that it was difficult to maintain position. At approximately 06.25 (guessed) I heard ??? base(?) tell the CO to make for E/A which were 20 miles S.E. of Manston, so proceeded there myself with ??? ??? Red section. P/O Ramsey reported "aircraft at 4 o'clock after 5 minutes and I saw 3 formations of aircraft stepped up at abut 5 miles to starboard, going North ??? 8,000 ft. Assuming the rear of the squadron to be twin-engine fighters, I ??? spent ten minutes or more positioning myself ??? into the sun and at 16000 ft and about two miles astern. I ordered the attack, telling my aircraft (which I hoped were all there, although one section was not visible in my mirror, and my no. 3 could not keep up) to dive through the enemy formation and into the clouds, (as I assumed the rear squadron were Me 110's, and ¾ of my pilots were new) I opened fire at 300yds with my cannons, firing into the general mass, as the enemy were in exceptionally close formation. One immediately burst into flames and another ??? started smoking when my windscreen front panel was completely shattered by enemy fire, and I broke away downwards & returned to North Weald.

R.L.Smith F/Lt.

Taken from AIR 50/63/98 which is a low quality scan of a handwritten report that in places is hard to decipher.

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.

F/O McMullen claims one He 113 damaged over Hawkinge

Sector Serial No(A)D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol(B)
Date(C)15/8/40
Flight, Squadron(D)12 aircraft 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft(E)130 approximately
Type of Enemy Aircraft(F)40 Ju.87
50 He.113
40 Me.109
Time Attack was delivered(G)1118 - 1215 hours
Place attack was delivered(H)Dover and Hawkinge
Height of Enemy(J)Fighters 19,000 feet
Bombers 7,000 "
Enemy Casualties(K)Destroyed -
Probable -
Damaged 1 He 113
Our Casualties Aircraft(L)NIL
Personnel(M)NIL
Searchlights(N) (i)N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance(ii)None
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) range opened )
Length of burst ) not known
Range closed )
No. of rounds fired )
F/O McMULLEN The Squadron was ordered to engage the enemy aircraft in the Dover area. We climbed to 16,000 feet and saw a large number of ME 109's at that height. Before we could engage them, they turned tail and headed straight for Calais. We then were ordered to Hawkinge and when at 17,000 feet, encountered a number of HE 113's milling and circling - protecting dive bombers 10,000 feet below. I managed got get onto the tail of one of these and fired a short burst from about 250 yards range, I saw glycol pouring out, but since the enemy aircraft was at that height, he probably managed to get home.
DM McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)

F/Lt. Deere damages an He 113 over Hawkinge

Sector Serial No(A)D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol(B)
Date(C)15/8/40
Flight, Squadron(D)12 A/C 54 Sqn.
No. of Enemy Aircraft(E)130 approx
Type of Enemy Aircraft(F)40 Ju 87
50 He 113
40 Me 109
Time Attack was delivered(G)1118 - 1215 hours
Place attack was delivered(H)Dover and Hawkinge
Height of Enemy(J)Fighters 19,000 Bombers 7,000
Enemy Casualties(K)Destroyed 1 Me.109
Probable Nil
Damaged 1 He.113
Our Casualties Aircraft(L)Nil
Personnel(M)Nil
Searchlights(N)(i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance(ii) None
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range Opened )
Length of burst ) see attached sheet
Range closed )
No. of rounds per gun fired 2720
General Report(R)
F/Lt. Deere The squadron was ordered to engage enemy aircraft in the Dover area. We were at 16000 feet climbing when we met about 40 ME 109's off Dover. Immediately they sighted us they half rolled and streaked back to Calais in no formation at all. I shot at two of these and succeeded (with a long range burst from astern - range 300 - 250 yds) in bringing it down in flames. I saw it dive from 17000 feet down to 1000 feet before I had to break away. I then understood that Hawkinge was being bombed and proceeded there, climbing to 18000 feet where I encountered a number of HE 113's. These were circling about and obviously staying to protect bombers. I managed to get on the tail of one and had no difficulty in overtaking it. I got in a number of rounds from astern and must have damaged him badly as glycol was streaming out. I followed the enemy aircraft back to Calais at 18000 feet before returning. HE 113's has yellow roundels on the main plane upper surfaces.
A C Deere F/L

(AIR/50/21/105)

F/O McMullen claims one He 113 probable over Maidstone

Sector Serial No(A)D 2.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol(B)
Date(C)15. 8. 40.
Flight, Squadron(D)12 a/c 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft(E)60 (Approximately).
Type of Enemy Aircraft(F)40 Do.17's.
He.113 ) Unknown No.
Me.109 )
Time Attack was delivered(G)1826 - 1930
Place attack was delivered(H)Maidstone.
Height of Enemy(J)Bombers 18/19000. Fighters 13/25000.
Enemy Casualties(K)Destroyed. NIL.
Probable. 1 He.113.
Damaged. NIL.
Our Casualties Aircraft(L)NIL.
Personnel(M)NIL.
Searchlights(N) (i)N/A.
A.A. Guns Assistance(ii)NIL.
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range opened )
Length of burst ) See attached Sheet.
Range closed )
No. of rounds per gun 608.
F/O McMullen We were ordered on patrol and given a vector straight away. The Squadron climbed to approximately 17000 feet and orbited. Yellow Section gave Tally-ho,. On looking in that direction I saw a large formation of bombers resembling DO 17's. I was No. 2 to the C.O. We went into line astern and came round behind the DO 17s. Echelon left was then ordered and I found one He 113 in front of me. I closed range to about 250 - 300 yards astern and fired short bursts. Bits fell off this aircraft and he appeared to be going down out of control. I saw my fire bursting on him. I was then attacked myself and was forced to break off the engagement. I fired one short burst at one HE 113, which I think was the one which fired on me.
DM McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)