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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 196557
Last updated: 1 October 2019
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Date:19-JAN-1940
Time:13:15
Type:Heinkel He 111 H-2
Owner/operator:1(F)./ObdL, Luftwaffe
Registration: T5+UH
C/n / msn: Wk.Nr.5542
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Sea, 60 miles east of Aberdeen -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The He 111 H-2 WNr 5542 T5+UH of 1(F)./ObdL was sent on 19 January 1940 for a high-level photo-reconnaissance sortie to the Firth of Forth and the Clyde. Sgt James Russell Caister of 603 Sqn RAF was on a shipping patrol alone in his Spitfire when the approach of the intruder was reported, and he at once set off to intercept, catching the Heinkel at over 20,000 feet off Aberdeen at 1205 hrs. He opened fire, but due to the extreme cold several of his guns failed to operate, while those that did, achieved no obvious result.

At 1235 the squadron’s Red Section, comprising Flg Off John Galloway Edward Haig, Flg Off Harold Kennedy Macdonald and Plt Off George Kemp Gilroy, scrambled after the aircraft, catching it 20 miles east of Aberdeen. The British pilots attacked, opening fire at 350 yards and cloising to 200. The German crew made no effort to jink and did not return fire. Contrails were a novelty then and the pilot reported that "the intense cloud trail created by the Heinkel made observation very easy but obscured it from astern. When coming up behind the bomber the Spitfire was caught in the cloud formed by the enemy aircraft which froze to the windscreen." Intense cold caused gun failures, but the He 111 was last seen going down. The British pilots reported seeing the undercarriage drop down and smoke pour from the bomber, but observed no definite results.

The Heinkel had been heavily damaged and eventually crashed into the sea without survivor 60 miles east of Aberdeen at 1315 hrs.

Crew (all killed):
Uffz Fritz Schneider (pilot)
Lt de Res Johann Fokuhl (observer)
Uffz Heinz Hartwig (flight engineer)
Uffz Otto Schäfer (air gunner)

Two bodies, originally reported as those of Fritz Schneider and Johann Fokuhl, were washed up at Rattray Head on 31 January. However, their identities were subsequently resolved as Heinz Hartwig and Fritz Schneider who were buried together in Grave 1506 of Buckburn Cemetery, Aberdeen, on 3 February. THey are now buried on Cannock Chase German war cemetery.

Sources:

1. http://www.wiki.luftwaffedata.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Aufkl%C3%A4rungsgruppe_Ob.d.L.
2. http://web.archive.org/web/20120320130812/http://www.rafandluftwaffe.info/luftwaffe1.html
3. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1954/1954
4. “Batailles Aériennes n° 3: les combats aériens de la drole de guerre”, French magazine, 1997-1998
5. http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?p=229790
6. "Fledgling Eagles: the Complete Account of Air Operations During the Phoney War and Norwegian Campaign, 1940", by Christopher Shores, with John Foreman, Christian-Jacques Ehrengardt, Heinrich Weiss and Bjorn Olsen. ISBN 0948817429
7. http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Caister.htm
8. http://bbm.org.uk/airmen/Haig.htm_
9. http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Gilroy.htm
10. http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/MacDonaldHK.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Jul-2017 09:03 Laurent Rizzotti Added
26-Apr-2018 16:31 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Cn, Other fatalities, Source]

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