ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 235764
Last updated: 15 September 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic ju88 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Junkers Ju 88 A-5
Owner/operator:10./KG 30 Luftwaffe
Registration: 5169
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Topsham Barracks, Exeter, Devon, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
In 2010 former evacuee Ronald Cameron could hardly believe his ears when he received a call from Eric Voysey of Topsham. Mr Cameron had appealed through Nostalgia for help in solving a wartime mystery in Exeter _ and within hours Mr Voysey was providing the answer.

Mr Cameron, 81, of Pegasus Court, Heavitree, and a wartime evacuee to the city from London, wanted to know if anybody could tell him about a German aircraft he saw crash in Exeter in May 1942. As a 12-year-old boy he was living on Chestnut Avenue, off Burnthouse Lane, Wonford, and had seen it come down. No sooner had the appeal appeared than Mr Voysey was on the line with the full story – and more.

Mr Voysey, 80, a former fisherman who lives at Higher Shapter Street, said: "Mr Cameron is quite right a German bomber did come down, on Wyvern Barracks that night, 02.49 hours on May 4, 1942 to be precise. And what’s more I have a bit of it in my front room!
"It was a German twin-engined Junkers 88 bomber with a crew of five and it was shot down by two Polish fliers in a Beaufighter of 307 squadron. It came down on what was the cricket pitch of the Wyvern Barracks. My son, Wayne, is a builder and when they were redeveloping the site he was working there.
"I told him a plane had come down and he knew nothing about it but when they were excavating the site they came across some wreckage and he got part of the German plane’s propeller for me. It is about 18 inches long, made of metal and I have polished it up. It looks like silver.
"The five German crew were all killed and are buried at Higher Cemetery in Heavitree.

Mr Cameron said: "It was great to hear from Mr Voysey just to confirm what I thought had happened. I had spoken to many people about it, but they seemed to doubt it had ever happened."

This night Exeter was the target of a Baedeker raid by about 30 German bombers which struck the Cathedral, railway station and good depots, the city hospital and library, the GPO and the main telephone exchange. Much of the medieval town centre was razed to the ground by a fire which went beyond the control of the fire services. 163 people were killed and 131 seriously injured.

During this attack four German bombers were lost, probably all shot down by RAF nightfighters. The one that crashed at Topsham Barracks, Exeter, was the Ju 88 A-5 WNr 5169 4D+FU of 10./KG 30. It was shot down by a Beaufighter of 307 (Polish) Sqn RAF flown by Sgt Wladyslaw Illaszenicz (pilot) and Plt Off Zbyszko Lissowski (radar operator), and disintegrated on impact. All crew was killed, but contrary to what is said above, there were only four men above.

Crew (all killed):
Uffz Bernhard Leyser
Uffz Wilhelm Pfeiff
Gefr Ernst Keil
Gefr A Koepl

Koepl body was probably pulverized by the crash and he is missing.

The ORB of 307 Sqn RAF reported this interception (and another by the same crew) with the following words:
"02.35 Beaufighter IIF. T3046 landed and reported that AI contact was made at maximum range at height of 7000ft with E/A ahead and 500 ft. above. Contact was lost but a correction in course from GCI. led to a further contact with E/A still above. After a chase of 3 minutes a visual was obtained with E/A 400 yards ahead and 500 ft. above, and the pilot believed it to be a JU.88. The E/A flew very slowly and our pilot had to weave to avoid overshooting. Finally he lowered flaps and managed to close and fired two bursts, one of 2 to 3 sesc. and a further very short one at a range of 100 yards. The first burst set of fire to the port engine of the E/A which crashed at Topsham. Our pilot was subsequently put on to another raid at 9000ft. Contact was obtained at maximum range, E/AA being level and ahead, three blips at approximately regular intervals being obtained. After a chase of 6 to 7 minutes pilot obtained visual on two aircraft while operator had contact on the third. Our pilot picked out the leader of this loose formation and closed in. Evasive [Illegible] action was taken by the E/A and the rear gunner opened fire. A running fight ensued the E/A firing continually and our pilot getting in short bursts as and when he could. At approx. 02.30 hours E/A port engine caught fire and pieces broke away. The aircraft crashed at Colyton, Devon and proved to be a JU.88. Pilot Sgt. Illaszewicz, Observer (Radio) P.O. Lissowski."

The two Ju 88s claimed this night were the first confirmed victories by this crew, that had claimed during the past week a Ju 88 probable and another damaged. On 18 July 1942, without having scored more, both were killed in a training crash.

"The Blitz Then and Now, volume 3. May 1941 – March 1945", collective work, ISBN 0-900913-58-4,_Devon

Revision history:

06-May-2020 10:54 Laurent Rizzotti Added
06-May-2020 19:50 DB Updated [Operator, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description