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So what was the first German aircraft shot down on British Soil in WW2 then?


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I had a great little read last night from a small book "Luftwaffe over Scotland"

Now I thought I knew all about the first German aircraft in WW2 shot down over British soil (as opposed to over the sea etc) but I was wrong, or so it seems

Rather than give the game away straight off are there any suggestions ?

I was thinking the 603 shoot down of the He 111 near Humbie, East Lothian just South from Edinburgh but maybe not..............

I'll post what the book says later tonight!

And not only that I was staggered to read that a Saro London had an air to air kill with a Dornier Flying boat ! The most unlikely air to air kill ever ???

JohnT

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I had a great little read last night from a small book "Luftwaffe over Scotland"

Now I thought I knew all about the first German aircraft in WW2 shot down over British soil (as opposed to over the sea etc) but I was wrong, or so it seems

Rather than give the game away straight off are there any suggestions ?

I was thinking the 603 shoot down of the He 111 near Humbie, East Lothian just South from Edinburgh but maybe not..............

I'll post what the book says later tonight!

And not only that I was staggered to read that a Saro London had an air to air kill with a Dornier Flying boat ! The most unlikely air to air kill ever ???

JohnT

The RAF website says in its timeline :

29 Nov 1939 - After being attacked by Spitfires of Nos. 602 and 603 Sqns over Lothian in Scotland, an He 111 bomber becomes the first German aircraft to be shot down over the UK.

which was what I vaguely remembered...... the same as you John

Philpott's german Bombers Over England states that 2 Ju88's were shot down by 602/603 sqd Spits while attacking Warships in the Firth of Forth on october 16th ...presume they 'went into the drink' first bomb to hit the British Isles was one that hit the island of Hoy on October 17th

Edited by fraxinus
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I'd always thought that too. However, I'm sure I've read somewhere recently that the first German aircraft brought down on British soil was a reconaissance aircraft, the type I can't recall

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The RAF website says in its timeline :

29 Nov 1939 - After being attacked by Spitfires of Nos. 602 and 603 Sqns over Lothian in Scotland, an He 111 bomber becomes the first German aircraft to be shot down over the UK.

which was what I vaguely remembered...... the same as you John

Thats exactly what I thought too but as long as the books author has the dates right then we are wrong. Of course the book might be off but I think it might well be right for reasons which I'll elaborate on after getting home for tea ! The chap certainly seems to know what he is talking about. The "Humbie Heinkel" would be the second to come down on UK land though the first on the mainland. I am including all the UK islands under "British Soil" and obviously we are talking about the Scottish Islands here

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And not only that I was staggered to read that a Saro London had an air to air kill with a Dornier Flying boat ! The most unlikely air to air kill ever ???

How about the Cub pilot shooting down a Storch with a revolver?

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Cub pilot shooting down a Storch with a revolver
a Saro London had an air to air kill with a Dornier Flying boat

I love stuff like this away to find out more.

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The opening question is open to debate (Typical lawyer to be deliberately obtuse!)

I'm sure the correct answer is a Ju 88 that was shot down in Orkney by anti-aircraft fire in October 1939 whilst attacking ships in Scapa, the October 602/603 incident was the first air-to-air shootdown, but crashed into the sea and the November was the first to be brought down on the mainland

Edited by Dave Fleming
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The opening question is open to debate (Typical lawyer to be deliberately obtuse!)

I'm sure the correct answer is a Ju 88 that was shot down in Orkney by anti-aircraft fire in October 1939 whilst attacking ships in Scapa, the October 602/603 incident was the first air-to-air shootdown, but crashed into the sea and the November was the first to be brought down on the mainland

Spot on Dave

I am due you a pint for the first correct answer !

According to the book by Les Taylor (same surname but no relation) it was a JU 88 A-1 of KG30 code 4D EK shot down at Hoy Orkney Island by226 Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery on the little island of Rysa on 17 October. Battery No 1 gun fired and its 4.5 inch shell blew the glazed nose clean off. The nose landed by the gun crew while the aircraft fell at the mouth of the Pegal Burn, Isle of Hoy. The German radio operator Fritz Ambrosius was badly burned but parachuted to safety while the captain Oberleutnant Flaemig and another crew member were killed.

The aircraft was part of an attack of KG 30 from Westerland on ScapaFlow and they sunk the old Iron Duke that was serving as a depot ship. Luckily a tug got a line on her and beached her before she slid under the waves. 1 man was killed and 25 injured.

Oh and I was wrong about the Saro London "kill" - it was a Heinkle 111 from KG26 and not a Dornier. Sorry. The London belonged to 240 Sqn at Sullom Voe and damaged the Heinkle which then limped home and crashed and was w/o in the landing

On 21 December Spitfires from 602 and 72 at Drem attacked 2 bombers and shot them down into the Forth. Sadly the bombers were Hampdens from 44 Sqn en route to Waddington. I suppose they were mistaken for Dorniers?

I wonder what other little titbits are tucked away in this wee volume?

JohnT

Edited by JohnT
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  • 1 year later...

I have just been told that there is a plaque in Whitby stating - 'here is buried a machine gun that shot down the FIRST german aircraft in WW2 on British soil'

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first bomb to hit the British Isles was one that hit the island of Hoy on October 17th

And it became the first "victim" of propaganda, now known as spin. It was (falsely) reported that the only casualty was a rabbit, hence the Flanagan & Allen song,"Run, rabbit, run."

Edgar

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Unless that was James Bond in the Cub, how on earth did they manage that?!

Would like to know more myself !

I'm not surprised however about the London shooting down a bomber: while the fighters' achievements are much better known, many flying boats were involved in vicious combats against other similar planes and long range recce and bombers.

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... many flying boats were involved in vicious combats against other similar planes and long range recce and bombers.

Such as encounters between Sunderlands and Condors. The idea of two aircraft derived from airliners duking it out in the skies does seem a little unexpected.

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Such as encounters between Sunderlands and Condors. The idea of two aircraft derived from airliners duking it out in the skies does seem a little unexpected.

You mean like Nimrods armed with Sidewinders to chase B707's across the south Atlantic? I digress, Mr Taylor's book is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the early war years. I would still like to know the identity of the aircraft that bombed Gretna in April 1941 though, the book doesn't mention it.

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