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#276902 - 18th Dec 2008 11:16pm Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock
Dava2479 Offline

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Ju88


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#276903 - 18th Dec 2008 11:17pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
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Ju88 Brom dock


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#276904 - 18th Dec 2008 11:18pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
Dava2479 Offline

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I have also done a bit of research on the plane,very interesting story.

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#276905 - 18th Dec 2008 11:18pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
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A Hurricane still in the process of taking off from Speke Airport, Liverpool caught this Junkers out cold and shot him down. The plane crashed on the opposite side of the River Mersey, at Bromborough Docks. In the first of the two images, Liverpool can be seen to the rear, across the river. I have had an email (Nov 07) from Colin Shroeder from Greasby, a local expert on the Wirral and he informs me that this bomber was actually shot down by 3 Hurricanes, from 312 Sqn, a Czech Unit.

8th October1940 - Bromborough Ju88 crash

On the 8th October, a Junkers Ju88 (works number 4068, coded M7+DK) from No.2 Staffel (Squadron) of KGr.806 (Bomber Wing) took off from its base at Caen-Carpignet in France to bomb the Rootes aircraft factory at Speke and photograph the results. The aircraft was loaded with four 250kg bombs. The route that was taken, took them from Caen to Southampton, Droitwich, Ellesmere Port and finally to Speke arriving in the target area around 4pm.

Three Hurricanes of yellow section No.312 (Czech) Squadron based at Speke were scrambled at 4.10pm with orders to patrol Hoylake. Just after they took off, anti-aircraft, bursts drew their attention to the enemy aircraft. On sighting the Hurricanes, the Ju88, started to climb sharply, trying to gain cloud cover. Sergeant Josef Stehlik (yellow 3) in L1807 got in the first burst with Pilot Officer Alois Vasatko (yellow 2) in L1926 firing from below. Meanwhile Flight Lieutenant Denys Gillam (yellow 1) in P2575 kept up a stern attack. Heavy and accurate fire was returned from the Ju88 and all three Hurricanes were damaged, yellow 1 windscreen smashed, the exhaust manifolds of Yellow 2 damaged, while Yellow 3 sustained damage to the petrol tank and the gun pipe line (He states in his individual report he returned thinking all his ammunition had gone).

The Ju88’s starboard engine was hit and damaged. The pilot 26 year old Oberleutnant Helmuth Bruckman jettisoned two of his bombs into the River Mersey. With two bombs still in their racks, the Ju88 was seen gliding down towards Bromborough Dock where the pilot made a forced landing with the undercarriage retracted. The Ju88 slid across the field for thirty yards until it came to a rest near to an anti-aircraft gun post with the port engine ripped out of its mounting. One of the bombs was torn from its rack and was found lying in the field near to the aircraft along with a fully inflated dinghy. A bullet wound to the head had killed the observer 24 year old Leutnant (Pilot Officer) Herbert Schlegel. The pilot, Oblt Bruechmann was uninjured but 37 year old Sonderfuhrer Horst Lehmann the air gunner and 26 year old Unteroffizierer Helmuth Weth wireless operator were injured. The three Hurricanes landed back at Speke, the whole sortie had taken just six minutes.

Harry Gill who was a gateman at the Bromborough Dock at the time recalled, “I was on duty at the South Gatehouse at Bromborough dock, when a twin-engined aeroplane plunged out of the clouded sky and crashed about 200 yards away on land reclaimed from the River Mersey. I ran towards it and half way there I looked up and saw a swastika on the tail fin. Two men scrambled out of the cockpit and ran behind the damaged wing. They were bending over a third airman lying at their feet. I sized them by the epaulettes of their uniforms and demanded their guns, which they surrendered without argument. Mr Rand and Mr Thompson then appeared at my side, Mr Thompson took charge of one of the Germans and escorted him to the Dock Gatehouse to be kept in custody until the military authorities arrived”.

The injured were taken to Clatterbridge hospital. The morale of the crew after being captured was considered to be very high. The Hurricane pilots got a hearty reception when they landed back at Speke, being carried shoulder high by their comrades, a large number of station personnel and civilians witnessed the event, including those on a bus going past the airport. So great was the interest that the airport gates had to be closed the following day when crowds of local civilians arrived wanting to congratulate the pilots.

Flight Lieutenant Gillam in recalling the event said “Taking my car, I drove through the Mersey Tunnel to the scene of the crash just as the crew was being rounded up. The observer was dead but the others had survived although the gunner and wireless operator had been injured. I cut the German badge off the side of the aeroplane together with one of the swastikas for souvenirs, then returned to Speke”.

The RAF was very interested in the bombsight as it was a new type and was the first to fall in their hands. The RAF removed the aircraft within a few days and it was announced that it was to be put on public view in connection with “War Weapons Week” in Liverpool. In the meantime the Ju88 was moved to the Oval Recreation Ground were it was placed on display to the public. More than £70 was collected for the Mayor of Bebingtons “Spitfire Fund”. On the 18 th October, the Ju88 was paraded through the streets of Liverpool in procession with university students and was later displayed at St George's Plateau alongside a Messerschmitt Me109. Messerschmitt aircraft had the officially designation “Bf” standing for Bayerische Fleugzeugwerke until 1944, but the common designation “Me” was mostly used during the war.

Mrs F. Anstead-Browne of the WVS, and local organizer of the Neston Spitfire Fund, secured the use of the Ju88 as a means of revenue for her effort. It was on view in a field off Bevyl Road adjoining the Parade at Parkgate, where it remained till November 24th. A charge of 6d per adult and 3d for children was made, with a large number of people coming to look at the machine. The Ju88 had been transported on two low loaders, the fuselage on one and the wings on the other. They were placed together so that it looked as though it had belly-landed. Quite a number thought it had come down at Parkgate. Local boys were very keen to collect souvenirs, and so the Little Neston company of the Home Guard stood guard during the night. The Ju88 was later taken to RAF Sealand and disposed of.

The panel with the Swastika on, that had been taken by the pilots as a souvenir was hung in the flight hut at the squadron dispersal. After the war, Flight Lieutenant Gillam presented this panel to RAF Finingley and since the closure of this airfield; the panel’s whereabouts is unknown. A paddle from the dinghy which had a plaque mounted on it along with a painting titled “The Fastest Victory” signed by Flight Lieutenant Gillam has been seen for Sale on an Internet site.

Lieutenant Herbert Schlegel was originally buried at Hooton Village Church yard with full military honours, but was moved in 1962 to the German military cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

No.312 (Czech) Squadron came into being as the second Czechoslovak fighter unit and was formed on 29th August 1940 at the Czech aircrew depot at RAF Cosford. The squadron was based around experienced pilots, who had already had combat experience during the Battle of France, many of whom had already had more then one victory. On the 26th September, the squadron moved to its new home, the RAF station at Speke. On the 2nd October, No 312 (Czech) Squadron was declared as operational and tasked to protect the Liverpool area from enemy raids.

In November 1992 the German pilot Helmuth Bruckman visited the area and flew back into the same field that he crash landed his Ju88 into, aboard the Duke of Westminster’s helicopter. He had hoped to met, Denys Gillam but he had unfortunately died of a heart attack only a few weeks earlier.


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#276909 - 19th Dec 2008 1:26am Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
MGCraig Offline
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Thats a really interesting but sad story, thanks for that laugh

I love hearing the stories of how once enemies of on another, meet up so many years later, with the greatest respect and love for one another, and more often than not become good friends.

I also wasnt aware that the Hurricanes round here were from a Czech squadron. Shows how important local History is to education service round here
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#276920 - 19th Dec 2008 8:41am Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: MGCraig]
Dava2479 Offline

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Totally agree mate,it`s even more shameful that this sort of stuff is not taught in schools today,where as the likes of us guys on here have to dig and delve into the past to learn and understand about past events that has happened on our own doorstep and yet it is not passed down to generations beneath us.Maybe if it was then they would might have a bit more respect for the area they live in and for others who live in it.

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#276964 - 19th Dec 2008 1:03pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
bert1 Offline

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Newspaper cutting after czech squadron shot down Junkers 88


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#276980 - 19th Dec 2008 4:55pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
bert1 Offline

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Flight Lieutenant Vasatko and Sergeants Stehlik and Truhlar receiving the Czech Military Cross from President Benes.


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#276985 - 19th Dec 2008 5:03pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: bert1]
MGCraig Offline
AlfaHolic
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It makes you think however, how much of a futile mission it was. A single bomber dispatched to drop some bombs on Speke and for Reconnaissance purposes?

Thats the sort of thing only Biggles woud have gotten away with in World War One...taking on the entire German Air Force in a lone Sopwith Camel or Britol.

Brilliant Picture though, puts a face to the Heroes
thumbsup
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#276990 - 19th Dec 2008 5:30pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: MGCraig]
Dava2479 Offline

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Great find Bert. thumbsup

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#277165 - 20th Dec 2008 4:19pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
bert1 Offline

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Helmuth Bruckman Pilot of the junkers 88 shot down by 312 czech sqn 1940.


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#277173 - 20th Dec 2008 4:50pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: bert1]
Dava2479 Offline

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Registered: 10th Feb 2008
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More info on the junker 88

Aircraft Serial No Unit Station Duty Crew Passengers
Ju88A-1 4068 2/KGr806 Caen-Carpignet 4 0


On the 8th October 1941 Junkers Ju88 Wk No 4068 coded M7+DK, of KG 2/806 took of from its base at Caen-Carpignet in France to bomb the Rootes aircraft factory at Speke and photograph the results, the aircraft was loaded with four 250 kg bombs. The route that was taken took them from Caen to Southampton to Droitwich to Ellesmere Port and finally to Speke arriving in the target area around 16:00 hours. One member of the crew was a "Bildberichter" (Photographic War Correspondent).

From his vantage point on the top of George Henry Lee department store in the centre of Liverpool, Les Jones was on look out duty for enemy aircraft at the time, spotted and identified the loneJu88 flying up the River Mersey. H W Mermagen was the Station Commander at Speke and was in the operations room were the incoming raid was being plotted and gave the order for a flight of No 312 (Czech) squadron to be scrambled as the raider was thought to be heading for Liverpool.

Before reaching the objective, whilst flying at 13,000 feet the aircraft was attacked by three Hurricanes of Yellow section No 312 (Czech) squadron based at Speke. The starboard engine was hit and damaged and the pilot made a forced landing with the undercarriage retracted at Bromborough Dock at 16:15 hours, with two bombs still in their racks, upon being attacked two of the bombs were jettisoned into the river the other two remaining on the aircraft. The Ju88 slid across the field for thirty yards until it came to rest with the port engine ripped out of its mountings, one of the bombs was also torn from its rack to be found lying in the field near to the aircraft. The Ju88 came to a rest near to a anti aircraft gun post, the solders from which came to arrest the remaining crewmembers, however one of the crew that was slightly wounded in the hand and was taken to nearby Claterbridge hospital. The observer Leutnant Herbert Schlegel was killed by a bullet wound to the head, the air gunner and wireless operator were injured on landing and the second pilot was uninjured. The morale of the crew after being captured was considered to be very high.





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#277174 - 20th Dec 2008 4:51pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
Dava2479 Offline

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Yellow section No 312 (Czech) squadron had taken at 16:10 hours with orders to patrol Hoylake and while still at a height of 1,000 feet anti aircraft bursts drew their attention to an enemy aircraft. On sighting the Hurricanes the Ju88 started to climb sharply trying to gain cloud cover and was actively pursued. Sergeant Josef Stehlik in L1807 got in the first burst and Pilot Officer Alois Vasatko in L1926 continued firing from below and above in quarter tactics. Meanwhile Flight Lieutenant Denys Gillam in P2575 kept up stern attacks and soon the Ju88 was seen to be gliding downwards with both of its engines on fire, landing in a field on the opposite side of the Mersey. Heavy and accurate fire was experienced from the Ju88 up to the last minute and all three hurricanes were damaged with Flight Lieutenant Gillam's windscreen being smashed.


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#277175 - 20th Dec 2008 4:55pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
Dava2479 Offline

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Registered: 10th Feb 2008
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Loc: Wirral
The pilots got a hearty reception when they landed being carried shoulder high by their comrades, a large number of station personnel and local civilians witnessed the event, including those on a local bus going past the Airport. So great was the interest that the airport gates had to be closed the following day when crowds of local civilians arrived wanting to congratulate the pilots.

The intelligence officer, Pilot Officer G McK Phillips report that is made up from the three pilots individual combat reports details the attack as follows, "Yellow section had just received the order to patrol Hoylake and were still near the aerodrome at a height of 1000 feet when a Ju88 was sighted by anti aircraft positions up river the bursts attracting the attention of yellow 3 which sighted the Ju88 flying slowly Westwards at 1200 feet. The Ju88 then in turn sighted our formation and climbed sharply trying to gain cloud cover. Shortly before entering the Ju88 received a burst from Yellow 3 which was followed by continual attacks from Yellow 1(continuous astern attacks) Yellow 2 and 3 which weaved in and out attacking from below and above principally from the rear on account of bad visibility. The Ju88 received bursts from Yellow 1 and 3 while still climbing through cloud and started gliding downwards. Yellow 2 and 3 doing quarter attacks. By this time both of the Ju88's engines were on fire and it was seen by yellow 2 and a large number of ground observers to fall flat down on a meadow on the left bank of the Mersey. During combat heavy and accurate return fire was experienced from the Ju88 up to the last moment before the crash. Slight damage was sustained by all our aircraft a bullet hitting the windscreen of Yellow 1 another the exhaust manifolds of Yellow 2 while Yellow 3 sustained damage to the petrol tank and the gun pipe line (He states in his individual report he returned thinking all his ammunition had gone). Cine guns were not carried. Anti Aircraft fire was ceased immediately our fighters came into action. The names of the pilots taking part and numbers of rounds fired were as follows,

Yellow 1. Flight Lieutenant D.E. Gillam A.F.C 2400
Yellow 2. Pilot OfficerA.Vasatko 144
Yellow 3. Sergeant J. Stehlik 504

This was 312 (Czech) Squadrons first combat since formation on 29/8/1940.


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#277176 - 20th Dec 2008 4:56pm Re: Ju88 Shot Down at Bromborough Dock [Re: Dava2479]
Dava2479 Offline

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In his memoirs Flight Lieutenant Gillam recalled the events of the engagement, we were scrambled on 8th October in poor visibility. With our wheels still down we spotted this Ju88 being engaged by AA fire. My two wingmen began to chase it as I pulled up into a climbing turn. As my two Czechs engaged him I rolled or rather slid off the top of the climb right under it – the Ju88 was only at 1,000 feet. When I had enough power I pulled up and got a very close shot and it went down and crash landed with both engines on fire on the other side of the Mersey, about half a mile or so from the airfield. I continued round, lowered my wheels and put back down on the runway. It must have been one of the fastest Fighter Command kills on record. I had a bullet hit my windshield, in fact the German gunner scored hits on all three hurricanes. Taking my car, I drove through the Mersey Tunnel to the scene of the crash just as the crew was being rounded up. The pilot was dead but the others had survived although the gunner and wireless operator had been injured. I cut the German badge off the side of the aeroplane together with one of the swastikas four souvenirs, then returned to Speke".

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