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Thread: Strafing and Aircraft crash events in the UK, 3-4, 4-5 March 1945

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    Default Strafing and Aircraft crash events in the UK, 3-4, 4-5 March 1945

    Hi,

    I have a couple of questions regarding events reported in the United Kingdom on the nights of 3-4 and 4-5 March 1945. While not directly RAF-related, I am hoping some board members may have access to or experience with surviving police records etc. I should mention that I have obtained available Home Office (bomb census) and RAF records from TNA, but these records don't provide answers.

    1. On the night of 3-4 March 1945, Luftwaffe Ju88G-6 W.Nr. 621805 3C+KN of II./NJG 4 crashed near the perimeter of Metfield airfield in Suffolk. The time of the crash is uncertain, but significant. According to a local police report (partly quoted in an Air Ministry report), the crash occurred at "01.37 hrs" on 4 March. According to USAAF records (quoted in a separate Air Ministry report and also the USAAF 131st AACSS history), the crash occurred at "01.58 - 02.00 hrs" on 4 March. The time is significant because it determines if this German aircraft was the last Luftwaffe aircraft to crash on UK soil during the war. The police report time makes it the second last. The USAAF time makes it the last. Does anyone have access to a local police report about the incident?

    2. Among the numerous reports of Luftwaffe ground strafing over the United Kingdom on the night of 3-4 March 1945, are several where the available Home Office documents don't record a time. Has anyone seen police or bomb census records (i.e. not from TNA but perhaps from county records) that provide times for the following incidents:


    Strafing
    Barnby Moor, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the village caused superficial damage of an unspecified nature. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the town of Cleethorpes. No details concerning any damage available. One injured civilian in Brereton Ave died of wounds 07/03/45, and two other civilians injured.

    Strafing
    Helmsley, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the town caused no damage or casualties.

    Strafing
    Hemsby, Norfolk
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the village caused damage to three houses. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Humberston, Lincolnshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire reported in the village of Humberston. No further details available.

    Strafing
    Malton, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire in the town caused slight damage of an unspecified nature. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Melbourne, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the village (near the aerodrome of the same name) caused superficial damage of an unspecified nature. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Middleton-on-the-Wolds, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the village or within the parish. No details concerning any damage available. One civilian truck driver injured.

    Strafing
    Milford Unitary District, Derbyshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire reported in the Unitary District of Milford, north of Derby, which caused slight damage to roof of a factory. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Northallerton, Yorkshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at a goods train in the railway yard of Northallerton caused damage to several railway wagons. No casualties.

    Strafing
    Waltham, Lincolnshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at the village caused slight damage to roofs and windows of houses. No casualties.



    3. Among the reports of Luftwaffe ground strafing over the United Kingdom on the night of 4-5 March 1945, is one where the available Home Office documents don't record a time. Has anyone seen police or bomb census records (not from TNA) that provide a time for the following incident:

    Strafing
    Bardney, Lincolnshire
    Cannon fire

    Cannon fire directed at a factory and signal box in the village of Bardney. No details concerning any damage available. No casualties.



    Any information or assistance is greatly appreciated.

    Regards

    Rod

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    Hi Rod and happy new year to you.

    Nothing to add on this myself, I'm afraid, but as you can imagine I'll be watching out for any answers you receive! : )

    I haven't done much on my Gisela timeline / notes recently, but will get back onto them at some stage soon, hopefully. Let me know if there's anything more I can help you with, although as I think I mentioned I left my job based just down the road from TNA so can't just pop in there at lunchtime any more. Also I believe they've now introduced car parking charges to visit!

    Cheers as ever

    Ian

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    The time of 0137 hours for the Linstead Parva, Suffolk Ju 88 crash comes from the East Suffolk Police report. This time is confirmed in a report from the 1409 AAF BU at Metfield.
    The strafing at Hemsby, Norfolk according to Norfolk Police occurred at 0135 hours. Five houses and a garage were damaged, with one cannon shell reportedly lodged in a brick wall. The damaged houses were 20-60 yds N of Beach Road, Hemsby. No casualties reported.

    Bob C
    Last edited by BC1; 28th January 2019 at 21:24.

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    Hi Bob,

    thank you for the details, much appreciated. Regarding the Ju88 crash, the British Air Ministry Air Directorate of Intelligence produced two commonly-available intelligence reports about the incident:


    1. A.D.I.(K) Report No. 206/1945, jointly issued by A.D.I.(K) and U.S. Air Interrogation on 5 March 1945. This report quotes a time (from "local sources") of 01.37 hrs and apparently sources its information from the local police report. It mentions the Ju88 attacking a Liberator landing at Metfield and then a "night fighter" attacking the Ju88 [sic], causing it to dive into the ground. You have confirmed the time in the report comes from the East Suffolk Police and 1409 AAF Base Unit at Metfield.


    2. Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report No. 267, issued by A.I.2.(g) on 6 March 1945. This report quotes a time of 02.00 hrs (and gives the time of the Welton crash as 01.45 hrs and the Elvington crash as 02.00 hrs) and apparently sources its information from the 131st AACSS and the American pilot involved in the incident. The report states: "This aircraft crashed at 0200 hrs, on 4th March on the edge of an American Air Transport Command airfield near Metfield, Norfolk. The enemy aircraft had attempted to shoot down an A.T.C. Liberator which was coming into land. The height of the Liberator was under 300 ft and the E/A decided to fly underneath it and use the upward-firing guns. Fortunately the pilot of the Liberator noticed an aircraft with navigation lights on coming in underneath him and his evasive action caused the Ju 88 to make a very tight turn during which its wing tip struck the ground".


    The "Liberator" involved in the incident was a C-87 transport aircraft, probably from of Detachment 107, 131st Army Airways Communications System Squadron (I haven't confirmed the unit identity yet). The 131st AACSS history (note - the "history" in this case is the monthly Historical Data report for Detachment 107, completed on 1 April 1945) is worth quoting the report since it provides a slight counter-narrative to other reports:

    "At 0158 hours local time on the fourth, the field was subjected to an attack by a German JU-88 attack bomber. An unarmed C-87, returning from Sweden, was in radio contact with the tower and was on final approach at the time. The runway lights had been turned on for the incoming cargo plane and, due to the night operations of the engineering section, the hangar was lighted. It is evident that the German pilot had a well illuminated target and a fair idea of the layout of the field. He made one pass at the C-87 but was unsuccessful and did not score a hit. The C-87 pulled up and proceeded away from the immediate area. Accounts at this point, became confusing due to the rapidity with which events took place. The field was strafed, but whether it was by enemy aircraft or by gunfire from a pursuing allied night fighter is not known. Immediately after the strafing an aircraft, at that moment unidentified, was seen to burst into flames and crash to the ground just off the southern end of the field. It was established that this was the enemy JU-88; all four crew members the German aircraft were found dead.

    When all was quiet again the C.87 requested a QDM. No response could be obtained from the telephone at the D/F hut and it was believed to be out of order. T Sgt Milton D. Yount Jr., 17016503 and S Sgt Gerald T. White, 32281730 proceeded to the D/F hut where they found the circumstances far more serious than anticipated. Sgt Peter J. Voye, 39008084, the operator, lay dead on the floor. A single bullet, evidently a stray, had penetrated the south side of the hut, gone through his right arm and lodged in his chest. From all appearances Sgt. Voye died instantly. Other bullets penetrated the huts occupied by the enlisted men of the detachment."


    Unfortunately, I can't find any Metfield tower log or 131st AACSS document showing incident or take-off/landing times. I'll look at obtaining the monthly Historical Data report for 1409 AAF Base Unit...

    Thanks for the time and additional detail for the Hemsby incident...

    Ian, happy New Year to you as well. As you can see, I'm starting to work on the final revision of the Gisela narrative in the draft 1945 manuscript for the Nachtjagd Combat Archive book series...

    Regards

    Rod

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    Rod,

    I’m not sure if this is helpful or not...but I have another strafing incident to add.

    My Dad was in a 77 Sqn, 4 Group Halifax that was diverted to Skipton on Swale on the same date due to night fighter activity. His log book details the diversion and strafing. The 77 ORB indicates they diverted to Skipton. The ORB for Skipton provides details including the times of the attacks and of witnesses seeing a Ju 88. Pics of log book and ORB at link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/13oIMpmqjTv1GQaEvb02oVSSiDL8ePOkJ

    He told me of that night, that once they got the plane on the ground - a world record was set on how quickly 7 men could get out of a bomber :-).

    I’ve thought often about my Dad’s (and his generation’s) service and how lucky he was, as well as how if things been different on this day...or others, I wouldn’t be here.

    Mike
    Last edited by anglin.mj; 1st February 2019 at 03:49. Reason: Text change
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

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    Hi Mike,

    thanks for the details.

    Yes, I have note of this and practically all other incidents regarding the German Intruder operation on 3-4 March 1945. The strafing of your dad's Halifax [77 Sqn MZ769/U] occurred between 01:55 - 01:58 hrs on 4 March. The intruder made a second run and strafed the airfield at 01:58 hrs, as detailed in the Skipton-on-Swale Station ORB.

    Regards

    Rod

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    Rod,

    Does your research include any German unit/pilot information for the Skipton strafing?

    Mike
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

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    I hope that i am not intruding on these posts, but did anyone come across a later incident on 5 May 1945 when a Ju88NF pilot claimed that he fired at an airfield as he passed over the UK on route to Gormanston airfield in Neutral Ireland. He was flying from Grove in Denmark.
    Many thanks
    Tony K

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    Hi Mike,

    it's next to impossible to prescribe strafing and bombing incidents to specific Nachtjagdverbände crews, mainly because the German crews thought they were attacking one location when they were usually elsewhere. The exception during Gisela is pilot Arnold Döring. His two attacks on bombers and two strafing attacks are fully corroborated in British records.

    Tony,


    I've looked at both AA Command and Ministry of Home Security material to see if there was any mention of the Ju88 flights or other incidents, but came up blank. The Ministry of Home Security decided to cease issuing its daily Home Security Intelligence Summaries on 11 April 1945, since they had nothing to report (i.e. no V1 or V2 attacks, no piloted aircraft attacks). Thus, there are no Intelligence Summaries on file past 11 April 1945. Nor have I found any mention of a May 1945 strafing incident within the Bomb Census material (which also include MG reports for strafing incidents).

    One file I have not fully checked is the AA Command War Diary and Appendices for May 1945 (in TNA WO 166/16630). Some time ago, I requested copies for April and May 1945 but only received material for April, so I don't know what is in the file for May 1945. The file should contain daily intelligence summaries if there was any reported enemy offensive action over the UK in May 1945 and also a copy of the AA Command Intelligence Review for June 1945 (if one was ever published).


    Another TNA file worth looking at is WO 166/16644 - the War Diary of 5 AA Group. It contains daily Enemy Activity Reports when such action occurred. I don't have any material from May 1945.

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 2nd February 2019 at 09:36.

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    Thanks Rod,

    That makes perfect sense.

    M
    Mike Anglin

    Barrie, Canada

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