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Thread: Heinkell 111H English Channel/S England 12.06.1940

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    Default Heinkell 111H English Channel/S England 12.06.1940

    I have a brief account of a He 111H of Wekusta 51 (a German met reconnaisance squadron) being shot down over the English Channel on 12 June 1940 ("Wekusta" by Kington & Selinger (2006)), but there's a slight inconsistency in the account. The book describes the aircraft as being shot down over the English Channel, but goes on to say that two of the crew bailed out over 'southern England', ie over land.

    I'd be grateful if anyone could provide any details of the action from an RAF perspective.

    Brian

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    Brian,
    Possibly the one attacked 12/06/40 overland by F/Sgt Gilbert of 64sqdn, but carried on damaged only to be finished off by Sgt Laws (also of 64sqdn) over the Channel, ditched in the sea and crew seen getting into dinghy.

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    That sounds about right Alan; the Heinkell had three crew so far as I can gather - pilot, glight engineer and met observer (Dr Hermann Freudenberg) who was killed. The interesting thing about this incident was the subsequent appearance of a hand-written copy of the Zenit code used for transmitting weather reports by Wekusta aircrew with Freudenberg's name on the bottom. This was subsequently used by Bletchley Park to decode all subsequent weather transmissions.

    Could I ask your source please Alan?

    I'm wondering if Freudenberg's body was recovered; is there a website that lists German WW2 casualties or graves in the UK?

    Brian

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    Brian,
    The source is on it's way via email, i know that the German War cemetery is at Cannock Chase and is looked after by CWGC, but not sure of where the list of burials can be found. It's possible that the other members of the crew left him on board the a/c knowing that he was dead, and he went down with it.

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    Default Freudenberg

    Hi
    Try search this site:
    http://www.volksbund.de/
    Best regards
    Soren Flensted
    WWW.Flensted.EU.Com

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    Default He111 12 June 1940

    Hi Brian

    This is what I have in my records:

    Early next morning (12 June), another of these intruders was caught and a He111 of Wekusta 51 flown by Oblt Gerd Nissen, the Staffelkapitän, was shot down off Margate. Attacked at 0700 by two Spitfires from 610 Squadron flown by Flt Lt John Ellis (P9451/DW-M) and Sgt Stanley Arnfield, the crippled reconnaissance machine then ditched a few miles offshore. Three of the crew managed to get out before the aircraft sank but two others – Uffz Franz Bolinski and Uffz Willi Stiegelmeier – were lost. However, one of the survivors – Reg.Rat. Dr Hermann Freudenberg, a weather specialist – drowned before help arrived in the form of the fishing boat Golden Spray. The boat’s crew of three, including 16-year-ohd Ken Ross, dragged the two injured crewmen aboard, including the pilot, who had suffered head injuries and a machine-gun bullet lodged in his arm. Young Ken ripped his own underwear into strips to use as bandages and, in return, Nissen – who had only a shirt, trousers and socks – gave him his socks suspenders as a gift of gratitude. The other survivor, the portly 16-stone observer Obfw Hans Peckhaus, was also seriously injured. On reaching land, both airmen were rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.

    Flt Sgt Ernest Gilbert and Sgt Adrian Laws of 64 Squadron reported shooting down another Do17 near Gatwick, at 0720.

    Hope this helps. I have yet to see the various combat reports.

    Cheers
    Brian

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    We have exchanged emails Alan and Brian, but just to keep the record straight - Many thanks.

    I'm currently trying to trace the descendents of the three fishermen involved in the rescue of two of the Heinkell's survivors to see if anything can be added to their story, but in the meantime does anyone have access to either the 610 Squadron ORB (hoping it might contain a record of the incident) or the combat reports of Flt Lt John Ellis and Sgt Stanley Arnfield?

    Brian

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    Ellis's combat reports, including the date required, can be downloaded for £3.50. For so many pages this is quite the bargain from TNA!!

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7751382&queryType=1&resultcount =46

    Unfortunately, Arnfield's reports do not cover this date

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Default He111 12 June 1940

    Hi Brian

    I managed to get to the NA yesterday and now have a copy of Ellis' report. Unfortunately, no mention of the fishing boat crew etc. I can now confirm that two Spitfires of 64 Squadron were involved in the same action. I have also obtained copies of the two 64 Squadron pilots' reports, but they are almost illegible!

    However, if you would like copies of the above send me your address in an e-mail.

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 6th August 2010 at 19:53.

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    Default

    Hi Brian

    In regard to the illegible Combat Reports... try this: I grabbed one of the people at the desk in the NA and showed them that a 41 Squadron Combat Report was illegible on the screen, and was therefore able to fill in a form to apply to see the report in hardcopy.

    As one report cannot / will not be extracted from the file and sent over, they sent the entire file AIR 50/18 - i.e. every one of 41 Squadron's WWII Combat Reports. It took a few weeks for them to arrive, but I then got a digital photo of my problem report, and promptly set about photographing every other Combat Report in the file that I didn't already have, whilst I had the opportunity!

    To do this, you will need to prove (show) the NA that the AIR 50 microfilm is eligible and (ii) that any of those scanned (the ones you can download off-site for £3.50 or free on-site) are also illegible or missing.

    The 'fortunate' thing is that (if you recall the previous thread about these scans way back when they were first released) it is quite clear that many names have been mis-spelled, which means that if yours is, you can show that by typing in the real name (correct spelling) that it is 'missing'. I trust you follow what I mean.

    It's cheeky and you need a bit of luck, but it worked for me! Of course, if it's elegible on both screens, then you have an immediate case, too.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steve Brew; 6th August 2010 at 23:10.
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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